(HealthDay News) — Stage 1 hypertension is associated with an increased risk for acute coronary syndromes (ACS) in women, according to a study published online in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Ester Kringeland, MD, from the University of Bergen in Norway, and colleagues examined associations between stage 1 hypertension and ACS in 12,329 participants in the Hordaland Health Study (mean baseline age, 41 years; 52% women). Participants were categorized by baseline blood pressure (BP) category: normotension (BP <130/80 mm Hg), stage 1 hypertension (BP 130 to 139/80 to 89 mm Hg), and stage 2 hypertension (BP ≥140/90 mm Hg).

The researchers found that during 16 years of follow-up, 1.4 and 5.7% of women and men, respectively, experienced incident ACS. Stage 1 hypertension was associated with a higher risk for ACS in women after adjustment for diabetes, smoking, body mass index, cholesterol, and physical activity (hazard ratio, 2.18; 95% confidence interval, 1.32 to 3.60), while in men, the association was not significant (hazard ratio, 1.30; 95% confidence interval, 0.98 to 1.71). Stage 1 diastolic hypertension was associated with ACS in women (hazard ratio, 2.54; 95% confidence interval, 1.56 to 4.15) but not in men (hazard ratio, 1.29; 95% confidence interval, 1.00 to 1.65), while stage 1 systolic hypertension was not associated with ACS in either sex after additional adjustment for systolic and diastolic BP.

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“The results add to emerging evidence indicating that high blood pressure has particularly unfavorable effects on women’s hearts,” Kringeland said in a statement.

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