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Friday 1 January 2016

Blood Pressure Drugs Rethink Urged


High Blood Pressure – Higher Risk of Heart Disease

According to a study, several lives could be saved if the doctors had considered giving blood pressure drugs to the patients during high risk of heart disease even when their blood pressures seemed to be normal. A report calls for a move from present guidelines that suggest pills only to be prescribed if the blood pressure is said to be above a particular threshold.

However experts have admitted that lifestyle factors have played a very important role in bringing the blood pressure down and the study had been published in the Lancet. High blood pressure has been connected to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. Present guidelines which have been issued by England’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellences have recommended that patients need to take only medication whenever their blood pressure level tends to reach 140 mmHg.

Those at a risk till this point, for instance people who may have had strokes are provided monitoring though not pills. A global team of experts are coordinating with doctors to focus on risks of individual instead of the firm and arbitrary blood pressure thresholds.

Treatment Reduces Blood Pressure Levels

The results of over 100 large scale trials with some 600,000 people between 1966 and 2015 have been analysed by experts. It was observed that those who were at the highest risks which included smokers with high cholesterol levels as well as people beyond 65 with diabetes could benefit more from treatment, thus reducing their chance of heart attacks and strokes.

 Besides this, the report also recommends that once on treatment, blood pressure levels can be lowered much further than the target used presently. The study also supplements the growing evidence which the patient may benefit from reducing their blood pressure irrespective of their baseline levels either through their lifestyle changes or drugs.

However, it indicates that lower the person’s blood pressure to begin with, the lower the benefit they derive from reducing the same. The author does not suggest that everyone need to be given pills and also cautions that the side-effects of medication need to be taken into consideration.

Medication Not the Only Solution

Professor of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Liam Smeeth has agreed that the findings were essential for those at highest risk. However, he had brought about awareness that `one important caveat is that not all would be able to tolerate having their blood pressure brought to low levels and there is a need to balance possible drug side effect as well as likely benefits.

Dr Tim Chico, heart specialist, of the University of Sheffeld has commented that medication need not be the only way to resolve the issue. He further added that `we could all reduce our blood pressure. We could do this safely, cheaply as well as effectively as tablets by consuming health food, with more physical activity, reducing the intake of alcohol and by maintaining a healthy weight’. All this could help the individual in maintaining the blood pressure level and reduce the risk of heart disease.

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