A new study indicates that more intensive management of blood pressure could significantly reduce rates of cardiovascular events in patients aged 50 years and above.
High blood pressure (BP) is estimated to cause 7.5 million deaths every year worldwide. BP levels have shown to be linked to cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and stroke.
AdvertisementNow a new study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), indicates that more intensive management of high BP could significantly Reduces Rates of Cardiovascular Disease in elder adults, and lowers risk of death.
The Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) compared two groups of individuals taking blood pressure medication and having at least one additional risk factor for heart disease. The landmark study including more than 9,300 participants aged 50 years, and above began in 2009. The participants from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds were recruited from various medical centers and clinical practices in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The study did not consider individuals with diabetes, prior stroke, or polycystic kidney disease.
For one group, the target systolic pressure was 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) while for the other, it was kept at 140 mm Hg. Systolic blood pressure is the upper reading of blood pressure. For example, if a blood pressure is read as 120/80 mm of Hg, 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. The first group in the study required an average or 2 blood pressure medications, while the second required an average of 3 blood pressure medications to reach the target systolic blood pressure.
The results showed that the treatment that targeted a systolic pressure of 120 mm Hg, brought cardiovascular events down by almost a third and the risk of death by almost a quarter in the participants of the study as compared to the other group.
Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), said that the study provides potentially lifesaving information.
"Healthcare providers can use our results when they consider the best treatment options for patients at the age of 50 and above. We are delighted to have achieved this important milestone in the study in advance of the expected closure date for the SPRINT trial and look forward to quickly communicating the results to help inform patient care and the future development of evidence-based clinical guidelines," said Gibbons.
"Our results provide important evidence that treating BP to a lower goal in older or high-risk patients can be beneficial and yield better health results overall. But patients should talk to their doctor to determine whether this lower goal is best for their individual care," said Dr. Lawrence Fine,chief, Clinical Applications and Prevention Branch at NHLBI.
The primary results of the SPRINT will be published within the next few months. Other aspects of the study which include kidney disease, cognitive function and dementia are under analysis and are therefore currently unavailable.