Intensive blood pressure control shows promise and risks in older people

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A study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham has shed light on the benefits and risks of intensive blood pressure management.

Researchers aimed to explore whether stricter control of systolic blood pressure could improve heart health outcomes. They targeted a systolic pressure of less than 120 mm Hg, compared to the standard treatment target of less than 140 mm Hg.

Involving 9,361 participants at elevated risk for heart disease—but without diabetes or a history of stroke—the study’s findings were revealing.

Participants who adhered to the intensive treatment target experienced significantly lower rates of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, death from heart disease, and overall mortality than those who followed the standard treatment guidelines.

However, the study also brought to light the complications associated with such stringent blood pressure control. Those in the intensive-treatment group were more likely to experience severe low blood pressure, kidney injury or failure, and fainting.

These serious adverse events underscore the challenges and risks that can accompany aggressive blood pressure reduction.

When examining both during and post-trial follow-up data, the researchers observed consistent patterns in terms of treatment benefits and the occurrence of adverse events.

Notably, as time went on, the difference in blood pressure levels between the two groups diminished. Interestingly, instances of heart failure were more frequently reported in the group receiving intensive treatment.

This comprehensive study, led by Cora E. Lewis and her team, highlights the delicate balance required in managing blood pressure for those at risk of heart disease.

It suggests that while aiming for a lower systolic blood pressure could significantly reduce the likelihood of severe cardiovascular events and death, it also raises the possibility of potentially harmful side effects.

The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, underscore the need for individualized treatment plans that consider both the potential benefits and risks of intensive blood pressure management.

As research continues to evolve, these insights are crucial for clinicians and patients alike in making informed decisions about how to best manage blood pressure for long-term heart health.

For those interested in more about blood pressure management, additional studies provide insights into various aspects such as dietary factors, the effectiveness of different medications, and methods to accurately monitor blood pressure at home.

Each of these elements plays a vital role in understanding and controlling blood pressure, ultimately contributing to better cardiovascular health and quality of life.

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 How to eat your way to healthy blood pressure and results showing that Modified traditional Chinese cuisine can lower blood pressure.

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