Determining the relationship between blood pressure and vascular disease
High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for death and disability worldwide. Although there is reliable evidence on the association between blood pressure and ischemic heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of cardiovascular death worldwide, the relationship between blood pressure and risk of other, non-heart disease/stroke events is more poorly characterized. In particular, the relationship between blood pressure and atrial fibrillation, (vascular) dementia, peripheral arterial disease and diabetes is unclear. These four diseases cause significant disability and death worldwide, and are increasing in prevalence in both developed and developing countries.
The purpose of this study is to use the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), a large electronic health record database, to reliably assess the association between systolic and diastolic blood pressure and these four diseases. Furthermore, this study aims to use the large sample size available in CPRD (>4 million people with a blood pressure record) to reliably assess the association between blood pressure and risk of these diseases in subgroups of individuals (e.g. individuals aged 50-60) and by baseline blood pressure (e.g. 120-130 mm Hg). The results from this study will potentially inform the design of randomized trials and suggest population level prevention strategies.