Could High Blood Pressure Raise Your Cancer Risk?

High blood pressure is known to increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke, metabolic syndrome and aneurysm. But a new study suggests it could also increase your risk of having or dying from cancer.

The research, presented by Swedish scientists at the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress meeting in Stockholm, shows that men with higher-than-normal blood pressure have a 10 to 20 percent increased risk of developing cancer.

Men in the study who had the highest blood pressure were also 49 percent more likely to die from cancer than men with the lowest blood pressure, researchers found. The cancers included bowel cancer, lung cancer, kidney cancer and skin cancer, The Telegraph reported.

And women with the highest blood pressure in the study had a 24 percent higher risk of dying from cancer than the women with the lowest blood pressure.

However, the absolute risk of dying from cancer was still low for both men and women, researchers said.

"High blood pressure is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and our study now indicates that high blood pressure may also be a risk factor for cancer," study researcher Dr. Van Hemelrijck said in a statement. But the study only shows that there is a correlation between blood pressure and cancer -- and not proof that high blood pressure causes cancer.

To conduct the study, researchers looked at the health information of 289,454 men and 288,345 women. After 12 years, 22,184 of the men and 14,744 of the women had developed cancer, and 8,724 men and 4,525 women had died from cancer.

Researchers said that previous studies have shown that women with high blood pressure actually have a higher cancer risk than men, which is an opposite finding from this new study. But they said that the differences in results could be due to differences in the people in the study, as well as data the studies included.

Another recent study, published in the journal Hypertension, shows the relationship between blood pressure and another serious health condition -- heart failure. That study, conducted by researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, showed that older adults who have a LOW diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in a blood pressure reading) had a higher risk of heart failure than people with a high diastolic blood pressure.


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