Long-term variation in blood pressure raises the risk of an early death, researchers from the University of Glasgow.
The researchers discovered that variable blood pressure over one, four, five and nine years can be a predictor of early mortality in hypertensive patients.
Data from more than 14,500 patients attending the Glasgow blood pressure clinic was looked at for the study, which was published in Hypertension.
The differences between visit-to-visit blood pressure was a strong predictor of mortality, regardless of the long-term average blood pressure.
Even people with well-controlled blood pressure values showed a higher risk if they had wide variation between blood pressure readings.
Dr Sandosh Padmanabhan, who led the study, said: “Blood pressure is inherently variable and will fluctuate due to a complex interaction of various factors.”
Dr Padmanabhan said healthcare professionals may need to pay more attention to blood pressure variability when treating hypertension.
"The results of our study highlight the importance of not only taking blood pressure medicines to reduce blood pressure but also taking them regularly. Further studies could help identify specific drugs that could reduce variability.”