Intense high blood pressure control may harm health in older people

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Researchers from UC San Francisco and other places have a warning for folks aged 65 and older: taking stronger blood pressure medication when you leave the hospital might do more harm than good.

This new study looked at over 4,000 older patients and found that amping up their blood pressure meds didn’t make their heart health better a year later.

What’s worse, these patients had a higher chance of ending up back in the hospital within 30 days because of problems like falling, fainting, and kidney issues.

Why Does This Matter?

High blood pressure is a major concern for many people, especially as they get older. Doctors often prescribe medication to bring it down because high blood pressure can lead to other serious problems like heart disease and strokes.

When someone is in the hospital for something unrelated to their heart, their blood pressure can go up due to stress or illness.

It might seem like a good idea to give them stronger meds when they leave the hospital, but this study suggests that’s not the best move.

Timothy Anderson, one of the main researchers, said it’s better to focus on long-term control of blood pressure. Making big changes to medication while someone is stressed or sick might not help them in the long run.

Another expert on the study, Michael Steinman, said that the hospital isn’t the best place to start strong blood pressure meds.

Instead, doctors should check what kinds of medications the patient was taking before and talk to their regular doctor about any changes.

What Should You Do?

If you’re an older adult and you find yourself in the hospital for something that’s not related to your heart, be cautious about taking stronger blood pressure meds when you leave.

This study shows it might cause you problems like falls or kidney issues. Talk to your regular doctor about any changes in medication, rather than making big decisions while you’re still in the hospital.

It’s also worth noting that managing blood pressure isn’t just about medication. Lifestyle changes like eating a balanced diet, regular exercise, and quitting smoking can also make a difference.

Studies have even shown that certain vitamins and eating patterns could help improve blood pressure. So, it’s crucial to look at the big picture when it comes to managing your health.

This new study adds another layer to our understanding of how best to manage blood pressure, especially in older folks who are in the hospital for reasons other than their heart.

It suggests that doctors should be more cautious about ramping up blood pressure medication during this time.

Moving Forward

The researchers are now planning to study how diabetes medication is affected when people are hospitalized. It’ll help them understand if the risks they’ve found with blood pressure meds are also present in other types of treatment.

So, if you’re concerned about blood pressure, remember that a hospital stay might not be the best time to make changes to your medication. Always consult your regular doctor for long-term care and planning.

The study was published in a well-respected medical journal, JAMA Internal Medicine, and adds to a growing body of knowledge that helps doctors and patients make smarter choices about their health.

If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies about blood pressure drugs that could increase heart failure risk, and common high blood pressure drugs may have dangerous side effects.

For more information about blood pressure health, please see recent studies about common juice that could help reduce high blood pressure, and results showing the new advice for treating high blood pressure.

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