Many people overuse high blood pressure drugs in hospital

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In a study from Flinders University, scientists found patients in hospitals for non-heart related conditions may be unnecessarily receiving blood pressure medication that has no benefit and could instead be harmful in the short term.

The study highlights that while identifying and treating high blood pressure in the community is of vital importance, it’s likely that in-hospital elevations in blood pressure are relatively common and might not reflect poorly controlled blood pressure before admission.

The team says the measurement of blood pressure in hospital patients significantly differs from the best practice recommended for primary care and outpatients.

Measurements may be taken inaccurately, and in many cases factors such as pain, anxiety, noise and interrupted sleep patterns may be contributing to abnormal readings that do not need to be medically treated.

The team found recent studies suggest treating acute, asymptomatic, in-hospital elevations in blood pressure may have no benefit. Instead, they may increase the risk of in-hospital and post-discharge complications.

They say a big problem in investigating in-hospital blood pressure elevations and their management is the lack of robust protocols.

The industry needs to review the criteria used by hospital medical emergency teams in relation to blood pressure elevations/

Pending the development of robust measurement protocols in hospitalized patients, acute blood pressure elevations without additional symptoms or organ damage should not automatically equal treatment.

Rather, such elevations should facilitate follow-up of blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors after discharge, including clear communication with GPs to appropriately plan investigations and management.

If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about a major cause of high blood pressure, and plant-based foods could benefit people with high blood pressure.

For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies that black tea may strongly reduce blood pressure, and results showing these high blood pressure drugs may increase heart failure risk.

The study was conducted by Professor Arduino Mangoni et al and published in Australian Prescriber.

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