9 in 10 people with high blood pressure may need more treatment

Credit: Mikhail Nilov / Pexels

In several recent studies from the University of Gothenburg, scientists found many people with high blood pressure may need to get more treatment.

High blood pressure is the leading treatable cause of illness and death worldwide. More than a quarter of all adults in Sweden have hypertension.

This condition increases the risk of several dangerous illnesses, such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke, and of dying prematurely.

For some patient categories, the most advantageous blood pressure levels in terms of avoiding heart attack and stroke are uncertain.

In one study, the team examined the association between various blood pressure levels and the risk of heart attacks or stroke in older patients with hypertension but without a history of heart attacks or strokes.

The risk of heart attack or stroke was found to be some 40% lower for the patients with systolic blood pressure (SBP) below 130 mmHg, compared with those in the systolic blood pressure 130–139 range.

In the latter group, 5.2% of the patients suffered a heart attack or stroke during the follow-up period, compared with 3.4% of those in the group with lower systolic blood pressure. The study comprised 5,041 older patients.

This pattern was repeated in another study, which examined the risk of hemorrhagic stroke (brain bleed) at different blood pressure levels in 3,972 patients with atrial fibrillation, a common type of heart rhythm disorder.

These patients were receiving treatment with blood-thinning drugs, such as Warfarin or Eliquis.

The study showed that patients with systolic blood pressure ranging from 140 to 179 mmHg had a risk of hemorrhagic stroke roughly twice as high as for patients with a systolic blood pressure of 130–139 mmHg.

In the patient group with higher systolic blood pressure, 1.4% suffered a hemorrhagic stroke during the follow-up period, compared with 0.7% of patients in the group with lower systolic blood pressure.

In another study, comprising data on 259,753 patients, the insufficiency of treatment in patients with hypertension emerged.

Nine out of ten patients had either insufficient blood pressure control or high blood lipids (cholesterol), or were smokers.

The team says that an unnecessarily high number of people in Sweden suffer MI or stroke, or die prematurely, because of insufficiently treated hypertension.

The vast majority of patients with hypertension could reduce their heart attack and stroke risk by lowering their blood pressure and blood lipids with more drugs, or through lifestyle changes.

If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies about a safe and more effective way to treat high blood pressure, and many people with high blood pressure may take a drug making it worse.

For more information about high blood pressure, please see recent studies about the key to treating high blood pressure, and results showing common diet could help lower high blood pressure in older people.

The study was conducted by Johan-Emil Bager et al and published in Brain and Behavior and others.

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