Regular blood pressure medicine recommended for patients with high heart disease risk
People at high risk of heart attack or stroke should be recommended regular dosage of blood pressure lowering medication, according to a new report published in journal The Lancet. Medical experts related to the current research said that keeping blood pressure within the prescribed limits can lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
Patients with diabetes, history of heart disease or heart failure and those with kidney disease are considered as high risk patients. The current study was led by Dr. Kazem Rahimi deputy director of The George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford in England.
As per current recommendations, doctors prescribed blood pressure lowering pills once the patient reaches a threshold blood pressure. The threshold used to be 130/85 mm Hg. But it was recently shifted to 140/90 mm Hg for non-elderly individuals, and 150/90 for the elderly.
Dr. Rahimi added, “Our findings clearly show that treating blood pressure to a lower level than currently recommended could greatly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and potentially save millions of lives if the treatment was widely implemented.”
The overall finding of the new study: For every 10 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure achieved through medication, heart disease risk dropped by as much as one-fifth. This was true regardless of the patients' blood pressure when treatment began, even if it was below 130/85.
The systolic number, the top number in a blood pressure reading, measures pressure in the arteries when the heart beats; the diastolic number, the bottom number, measures pressure between heartbeats.
"The results provide strong support for reducing systolic blood pressure to less than 130 mm Hg, and blood pressure-lowering drugs should be offered to all patients at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke, whatever their reason for being at risk," Rahimi said.
In another report, a US government-backed panel has suggested that adults at the age of 40 and above who previously have had no heart attack or stroke to start low or moderate dose of cholesterol-lowering drugs.
The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends that people between the ages of 40 to 75 with at least on risk factor for cardiovascular disease and a 10% or greater risk of heart attack or stroke over the next decade should take statin drugs.
They also suggested that doctors can even prescribe the use of drugs for people in this age group who have a 7.5% to 10% risk of getting heart attack or stroke based on the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology risk calculator.
Dr. Douglas Owens, of Stanford University in California and a member of the USPSTF, said, “In addition to a healthy lifestyle, statins are useful for people at an elevated risk for cardiovascular disease”.
As per experts, risk factors for cardiovascular disease include high total cholesterol or triglycerides, high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking.
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular disease killed almost 787,000 people in the US in 2011.
Researchers said cholesterol, which is a type of fat in the blood can build up in arteries and increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular problems. Statins help to lower cholesterol by blocking the production of cholesterol in liver.
Stating use was linked to a 17% decreases in risk of death from any cause, and a 36% reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, said researchers.
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