Connect with us

Lowering threshold for prescribing blood pressure medication could save millions: study



Millions of lives could be saved by giving blood pressure-lowering drugs to people at risk of heart attack and stroke, even if they have normal pressure, researchers said Thursday.

Based on an analysis of 123 medical trials involving more than 600,000 people over two decades, the team called for an urgent review of existing treatment guidelines.

“Our findings clearly show that treating blood pressure to a lower level than currently recommended could greatly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease,” said study lead author Kazem Rahimi of the University of Oxford.


This could “potentially save millions of lives.”

Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers, written as a ratio, for example 140/90 mmHg (millimetres of mercury — the blood pressure unit).

The number on top is the “systolic” pressure inside the arteries when the heart beats, and the other the “diastolic” pressure between beats, when the heart is at rest and refilling with blood.

According to the American Heart Association, a “normal” pressure is less than 120/80, and becomes high from 140/90.

The study found that every 10 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure reduced the risk of heart attack by about a fifth, of stroke and heart failure by about a quarter, and the risk of death from any cause by 13 percent.


“Importantly, these reductions in disease were similar across a wide range of high risk patients… irrespective of whether their blood pressure was already low (less than 130 mmHg) to begin with,” they wrote.

People at high risk include those with a history of heart or artery disease, stroke, diabetes or heart failure.

The researchers urged a revision of blood pressure guidelines, including those of the European Society of Hypertension which recently relaxed its recommended treatment level for high-risk patients from 130 to 140mmHg of systolic pressure.


– It’s relative –

“Our results provide strong support for lowering blood pressure to systolic blood pressures less than 130 mmHg,” wrote the team.

High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke, said the study authors, affecting more than a billion people worldwide and killing about 9.4 million every year.


The benefits of lowering sustained high pressure are well established, but it has not been clear whether people with “normal” pressure levels would also benefit from treatment.

University of Sheffield cardiologist Tim Chico, who was not involved in the study, stressed that the benefits of treatment for a person with “normal” blood pressure would depend on the individual’s other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

“For example, if you are already at a low risk, reducing this by 20 percent isn’t all that important, and probably isn’t either cost-effective or desirable,” he said via the Science Media Centre.


“However, if you are at high risk (such as if you already have cardiovascular disease, diabetes or smoke) then a 20 percent reduction in risk makes a big difference and saves a lot of lives.”

Anna Dominiczak, editor of the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension, said she would call for a debate on blood pressure guidelines based on the study findings.

Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
Continue Reading

2020 Election

Lincoln Project slams NC TV station’s ‘overt cowardice’ for refusing to run ad criticizing Trump supporters’ ‘Flag of Treason’



On Sunday, The Lincoln Project—a political action committee comprising anti-Trump Republicans backing Joe Biden—digitally released an ad called “The Flag of Treason,” which takes aim to President Trump’s not-so-casual embrace of racial divisiveness and his alliances with Confederate sympathizers.

It’s a provocative ad, for sure—and too provocative, it seems, for ABC11-WTVD.

Continue Reading


Thousands in Paris protest racial injustice as George Floyd killing resonates beyond US



Riot police fired tear gas Tuesday as scattered protesters in Paris pelted them with debris and set fires during an unauthorized demonstration against racial injustice and heavy-handed police tactics.

Several thousand people had previously rallied peacefully for two hours at the main Paris courthouse as global outrage over what happened to George Floyd in the United States kindled frustrations across borders and continents. The protesters also paid tribute to Adama Traoré, a French black man who died in police custody.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

DC’s football team blasted for tweet against racism: ‘They’re called the Washington PR Stunts now’



In a startling moment of tone-deaf responses, the Washington Redskins took part in the #BlackOutTuesday posts, where many showed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protesters marching to stop police brutality of people of color. Given the racist history of Redskins owner Dan Snyder and the protests over the team's name, some are calling it another example of failed PR stunts.


"Teams with racial slurs for names should really sit out racism protests," explained user Dennis Perkins.

Teams with racial slurs for names should really sit out racism protests.

Continue Reading
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.