A spike in blood pressure is among the findings from a new analysis of Canada’s blood pressure monitoring data.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reported Friday that the average adult’s blood pressures rose in the last month for the first time since 2010.
It was the biggest spike since 2015.
“We know that we’re experiencing some of the lowest rates of blood pressure ever in Canada,” said Dr. Peter Cairns, a professor at Dalhousie University who led the research.
More: The number of adults with hypertension is at its lowest level in 20 years, and is at or below the 10th percentile for the past seven years.
And, while the trend was statistically significant, Cairs said it could be an underestimate because the data doesn’t include those with diabetes.
The increase in blood pressures was not expected to translate into a higher risk of heart attack or stroke, Cairs said.
“These changes are a positive step,” he said.
“It’s good news for Canadians and for patients and families.”
The survey found that people with hypertension, or those with blood pressure in the upper 20 per cent of the normal range, were the most likely to experience a spike in their blood pressure.
That could mean a spike can be seen when the person is already in a high-risk group.
Dr. Paul Larkin, a public health physician at the University of Guelph, said people with high blood pressure could be at higher risk for heart attack, stroke or other complications.
“When you have high blood pressures, the heart can get really, really hard and it’s the only way that the blood can get through the walls of the heart,” Larkin said.
Larkin said people who have higher blood pressures should get checked by a cardiologist or other health care professional.
“If you have an elevated blood pressure and there’s no evidence of any risk of an emergency, that’s usually a red flag,” he added.
“People who have elevated blood pressures and their symptoms are the most common reason for emergency department visits.”
The increase has been particularly noticeable among the elderly, children and the physically inactive.
“We see a lot of older people with higher blood pressure,” Larkins said.
Health Canada says the average person’s blood is between 140 and 170 millimetres, or 11.5 to 13.7 inches, higher than the normal blood pressure range of 140 to 135 millimeters, or 8.6 to 10.1 inches.
For more:Health Canada recommends people limit their drinks to 2 litres or less, limit salt intake to 3.5 grams per kilogram and limit outdoor exercise to two hours a day.