A protein that shows up in inflammation may signal risk of high blood pressure, researchers report in the first large-scale trial to link the two disorders.
The compound, called C-reactive protein (CRP), has already been implicated in heart disease and stroke. In light of that, some doctors have begun routinely testing patients' blood for elevated concentrations of the compound. Many studies have indicated that low-level inflammation triggers blood vessel damage.
While CRP's role in either inflammation or heart disease is far from clear, high blood pressure is a well-recognized danger sign for heart attacks and strokes.
To investigate a link between CRP and hypertension, epidemiologist Howard D. Sesso of Harvard Medical School in Boston and his colleagues tapped into a database of 20,525 women who had donated blood samples during the early 1990s as part of a wide-ranging health study called the Women's Health Study. The women entered the study at age 45 or older w