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Father's Life Span Linked to Blood Pressure

French Study: Higher Blood Pressure in Adults Whose Fathers Die Young
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Blood Pressure Findings

The French study followed 1,047 adults for seven years. Participants were about 52 years old. Nearly half (48%) were women.

At the beginning of the study, subjects were asked if their father was still alive or how old he was when he died. Participants also had their blood pressure checked; 27% had high blood pressure at the study's start.

High blood pressure was most common in people whose fathers had died prematurely (before age 65).

High blood pressure was present in nearly 35% for those whose fathers had died before age 65, 28% for those whose fathers had died between ages 65-80, and 20% for those whose fathers were still alive at age 80.

Seven years later, participants whose fathers had died prematurely showed the biggest rise in systolic blood pressure.

Average systolic blood pressure increase was 5.3 for those people, compared with 3.8 and 1.6 for the other two groups, respectively.

Many of the 762 people who did not have high blood pressure at the study's start had developed it by the end of the study. That included 26% whose fathers had died prematurely, 17% of those whose fathers died between 65 and 80, and 15% of those whose fathers were still alive at 80.

Diastolic blood pressure was not related to paternal longevity.

"This study suggests that paternal premature death was associated with accelerated progression of systolic BP and higher occurrence of hypertension [high blood pressure] in offspring," write the researchers, who included INSERM's Mahmoud Zureik.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), systolic blood pressure is the key determinant for assessing the severity of high blood pressure for middle-aged and older adults and those at risk for heart disease.

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