A recent study by British researchers who analyzed 61 previous studies of blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, which together included 1 million people, found that lowering blood pressure, regardless of age and even if readings are in the normal range, could have significant pay off in terms of reducing risk of strokes and heart attacks.
The study which included a 13 year follow-up of the subjects showed that out of the 120,000 who died, 56,000 suffered fatal strokes, cases of deadly coronary artery disease and other vascular mortality. Another 66,000 died of causes unrelated to the heart or vessels. The researchers say that every drop in systolic pressure (the top number) of 20 millimeters of mercury, and every 10 point decline in diastolic pressure (the lower figure), during middle age could reduce the risk of deadly strokes, coronary artery disease and other vascular problems by more than 50 per cent. The researchers say that high blood pressure, called the "silent killer" is also a main source of kidney problems.
The significant finding of the study is that lowering blood pressure helped younger people more than they did for the elderly and that it's benefits weren't limited to people who brought their blood pressure down from unhealthy levels. The researchers saw a protective effect of lower blood pressure until it hit about 115/75 mmHg, a low but fairly common reading. Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, a researcher and a cardiologist said that lower blood pressure - as long as it is not too low - is always better than higher blood pressure.
Sarah Lewington, co-author of the study added that the coronary arteries are the plumbing for the heart, and they are vulnerable to plaque buildup that can deprive the organ of blood and trigger a heart attack and that drugs, exercise and reduced salt intake, for certain people, can improve blood pressure.