Gum disease and high blood pressure often go hand in hand, according to research from the European Society of Cardiology. This is one more piece of evidence that supports the notion that there is a link between oral health and heart health. Although this link has been observed for years, doctors are still learning more about the intricacies of it. Hopefully, this new piece of information helps get us all one step closer to better overall health.
Heart disease is the biggest killer in the United States, and high blood pressure is the number one preventable cause of heart disease. On the surface, the gums might seem like an unimportant part of the body when it comes to long term health. But, if they can be used as a warning sign for bigger health issues, then suddenly they become a much more important issue.
Researchers pointed out that there was also a linear relationship between the two maladies. The more severe the gum disease (periodontitis) was, the bigger of an issue high blood pressure (hypertension) was. In other words, doctors could potentially tell how bad someone’s blood pressure issues were by looking at the health of their gums. The researchers involved in this study recommended that patients that were having their gums treated should be advised by their doctors to have their blood pressure evaluated, too.
The results of their study were published in the journal, Cardiovascular Research. The hope is that by illuminating the connection that these two issues have, preventative measures can be put in place once one is detected to help prevent the other. Although gum disease might not seem like a big deal on the surface, high blood pressure can result in a deadly heart attack or stroke. Knowing that periodontitis is a warning sign of hypertension can help save lives.
Results were mixed when it came to gum treatment. Because this was a longitudinal study that looked at multiple previous studies, there was no clear evidence as to whether treating gum disease had a positive impact on blood pressure. Of the 12 comprehensive studies that were looked at, only five showed evidence that the treatment of gum disease lowered blood pressure. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done in this field. However, regardless of whether or not the treatment of gum disease alone is enough is not important. If gum disease is detected, the treatment of that, plus improved screening–and treatment, if necessary–for blood pressure can be done.
This type of smart care is a big step forward. Understanding warning signs can go a long way toward preventing bigger health issues. This is a common goal that all doctors have, and it’s one that your care team should be on board with, too. High quality senior care is geared toward helping to improve the lives of the elderly, and preventing future health and safety issues. If you have questions about how this type of integrated approach can be used in your family, please feel free to contact us by phone or email. We’d be happy to help you and your family find a care solution that works.