Federal blood pressure guidelines could be changing sooner than expected with a new study providing compelling evidence these should be below those currently recommended.
The research conducted by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute was commissioned to deliver results in 2017. The researchers stated on Friday that their study was completed two years in advance as the evidence gathered is already sufficiently compelling to inform federal health authorities and policymakers in the direction of lowering current federal blood pressure guidelines.
On the other hand hypertension is a gripping health issue that needed urgent attention. The sooner results are gathered, the sooner a public health issue is addressed. Current guidelines recommend that blood pressure levels are kept at 140 mm HG to 150 mm HG at most. But the question regarding the real optimal levels has been asked for years.
For 79 million adults across the U.S. that have hypertension or high blood pressure these are potentially good news. Half of them are currently under treatment and are urged to maintain systolic blood pressure at around 140 mm HG, in compliance with the current federal guidelines.
So far, the results of the new research haven’t been published. They will be discussed in detail and publishing will follow soon. Elder patients that present elevated blood pressure at particularly targeted by the findings of the new research.
“This can have a very large effect on thousands of people. One in three people in the United States have hypertension, and the majority of those people are over the age of 50”,
according to MD Mary Norine Walsh, cardiologist and VP of the American College of Cardiology.
Coined Sprint, the study included 9,300 patients with elevated risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular complications. All patients included in the study were part of the age group of 50 and above.
Half of the group received medication in order to lower blood pressure to 120 mm HG, while the rest maintained systolic blood pressure at 140 mm HG. Over a three-year period, the researchers have found that one third of the patients in the first group were less likely to suffer heart attacks or strokes or otherwise die due to these complications.
The overall mortality risk was reduced by 25 percent.
Nonetheless, some concerns have been expressed in relation to over-medicating patients, particularly elderly ones. MD George Thomas, also director of the Center for Blood Pressure Disorders at the Cleveland Clinic stated that while these results are certainly encouraging, further questions need to be answered until federal health authorities may change the current guidelines regarding systolic blood pressure.
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