People at high risk of cardiovascular ailments and stroke should regularly take pills to control their blood pressure, according to a new paper published in journal The Lancet. The latest call for a new treatment regimen is based on the assessment of 123 studies carried out between 1966 and 2015 in which more than 600,000 people were involved.
Currently, guidelines suggest starting taking medications when readings are at specific levels. Lately, the threshold has been moved to 140/90 mm Hg for non-elderly individuals and 150/90 for the elderly. But the new report says that people known to be at high risk for a heart attack or stroke should take blood-pressure lowering medications irrespective of their blood pressure level.
Study’s lead researcher Kazem Rahimi, deputy director of The George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford in England, said, “Our findings clearly show that treating blood pressure to a lower level than currently recommended could greatly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and potentially save millions of lives if the treatment was widely implemented”.
Those patients as per the study researchers are considered to be at high risk for heart attack or stroke who have a history of heart attack or heart failure, kidney disease and/ or diabetes. The study findings unveil that for every 10 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure owing to the medications bring a drop in heart disease risk by one-fifth.
The findings stand true irrespective of patients’ blood pressure when treatment starts. The researchers said that the benefit has been shown even when it was below 130/85. Rahimi was of the view that the study findings strongly recommend to reduce systolic blood pressure to less than 130 mm Hg. It has also been suggested that all patients at risk of having a heart attack or stroke should be offered blood-pressure lowering drugs.
Current health guidelines call for treatment with blood pressure-lowering drugs when a patient’s blood pressure is above 140, but the new recommendations say those patients should be treated based on their personal risk of heart disease rather than an arbitrary number on a chart.
The research team, made up of global experts in their fields, analyzed data from more than 100 large-scale trials, taking into account information from about 600,000 subjects from a period between 1996 and 2015. Their findings show that patients with the highest risk of developing heart disease, which included smokers and diabetics over 65 years old would benefit the most from the treatment, and would lower their chances of having a heart attack or a stroke, told the BABW News.
The BBC notes that, more lives could be saved if doctors considered giving blood pressure drugs to all patients at high risk of heart disease - even if their blood pressures are normal, a study suggests. The report calls for a move away from current guidelines which recommend pills only be prescribed if blood pressure is above a certain threshold. But experts acknowledge lifestyle factors also have an important role to play in bringing blood pressures down.
In other news WebMD reported, People known to be at high risk for a heart attack or stroke should be given blood pressure-lowering medications no matter their blood pressure level, new research suggests. Current protocols recommend starting medication when readings reach specific levels. The threshold used to be 130/85 mm Hg. But it was recently shifted to 140/90 mm Hg for non-elderly individuals, and 150/90 for the elderly.