Intensive blood pressure treatment for older adults may harm heart and kidneys

Credit: Unsplash+

A recent study conducted by experts at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has shed light on the potential risks associated with aggressively treating high blood pressure in older adults who are hospitalized for conditions not related to the heart.

Traditionally, high blood pressure is seen as a red flag that needs immediate attention to prevent serious complications like heart attacks or strokes.

However, this study, which has been published in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggests that this approach might need to be reconsidered, especially for patients admitted for non-cardiac issues.

During the study, researchers focused on over 66,000 older adults admitted to hospitals for non-heart related conditions.

They meticulously analyzed the patients’ medical data, including blood pressure treatment received within the first 48 hours of admission, using records from the Veterans Health Administration.

The findings were quite revealing. About 20% of these patients were given more aggressive blood pressure treatments than they were used to at home, and 18% of these treatments involved intravenous medication, which is known for its rapid effect on blood pressure levels.

What stood out was the discovery that patients who received this intensive blood pressure treatment early in their hospital stay were more likely to experience negative side effects.

These included cardiac injury, acute kidney injury, and the need for intensive care unit (ICU) transfer, with the risks being even higher for those receiving intravenous treatments.

Timothy S. Anderson, MD, MAS, the lead researcher from BIDMC, highlighted the complexity of managing blood pressure in hospitalized patients. He pointed out that factors like pain, fever, anxiety, and new medications can temporarily elevate blood pressure.

Therefore, aggressively treating these transient spikes without clear symptoms might not be beneficial and could lead to over-treatment.

Anderson’s advice is cautionary, suggesting that until more definitive studies are conducted, medical practitioners should reconsider the routine practice of aggressively managing asymptomatic high blood pressure in hospitalized patients.

He specifically advises against the use of intravenous antihypertensives unless absolutely necessary.

This study underscores the importance of developing more nuanced guidelines for treating high blood pressure in hospitalized older adults.

It indicates that a one-size-fits-all approach may not be appropriate, especially for those without cardiac conditions, and calls for a deeper understanding of when and how to treat elevated blood pressure during hospital stays.

The implications of this research are significant, urging a shift towards more personalized and cautious blood pressure management in hospitals.

It’s a reminder that in healthcare, more treatment is not always better, and the key to improving patient outcomes may lie in understanding the underlying causes of symptoms rather than just treating the symptoms themselves.

If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies that early time-restricted eating could help improve blood pressure, and natural coconut sugar could help reduce blood pressure and artery stiffness.

For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about added sugar in your diet linked to higher blood pressure, and results showing vitamin D could improve blood pressure in people with diabetes.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.