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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | Personals | Yellow Pages  January 23, 2004
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Combo Increases Cardiovascular Risk
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(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Researchers have uncovered a deadly combination they believe increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in women.

In a study involving about 15,000 women, those who had the highest blood pressure and levels of a protein marker associated with inflammation were eight-times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those with the lowest pressure and levels.

The research is part of the ongoing Women's Health Study, which is studying heart disease in women. These investigators assessed the participants for a protein marker called CPR along with blood pressure in an effort to confirm other studies that have suggested a role for inflammation in heart disease. The goal was to determine how blood pressure and the protein marker might interrelate.

After adjusting their findings to take other factors into account, researchers found the higher the blood pressure, the higher the levels of the protein marker.

The investigators aren't sure whether high blood pressure causes elevated levels of the protein or whether elevated levels of the protein cause high blood pressure, but they believe knowledge of the relationship will aid in the overall understanding of heart disease.

Study author Paul M. Ridker, M.D., from Harvard Medical School, comments, "This finding has particular interest for the prevention of stroke because we have known for a long time that high blood pressure predicts stroke risk. These data raise the intriguing possibility that lowering blood pressure might also lower CRP levels. If so, we hope this will not only prevent heart attacks but the devastating consequences of stroke."

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.

SOURCE: To be published in an upcoming issue of Circulation

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