Around 75 million adults in the U.S. suffer from high blood pressures, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But what is high blood pressure?
It is very hard to define high blood pressure since the healthcare professionals are still arguing over the normal blood pressure values. Different organizations offer varying guidelines regarding high blood pressure.
For example, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute explain hypertension as a consistence systolic reading of 140 mm Hg or higher than that. However, according to the American Heart Association has suggested hypertension to occur when a person has a systolic blood pressure higher than 130 mm Hg or more than that.
Meanwhile, the CDC considers people having more than 120 to 139 mm Hg of blood pressure to be at a “risk” of hypertension. Generally speaking, the doctors advise the people, especially those who are old, to monitor their blood pressure regularly and keep them in check.
This is only to make sure that they never reach the threshold for high blood pressure which, in most of cases, include stroke, heart diseases, and other such things.
Now, a recent study conducted in Berlin, Germany has suggested that older individuals may not suffer from health problems if they suffer from high blood pressure.
In fact, the researchers noted that people in their 80’s having this problem may also get other potential benefits.
Getting Away from Blanket Approach
The new study which is present in the European Heart Journal investigated 1628 women and men with an average age of 81 years. All the participants were over the age of 70 when they joined the study. All of them were on anti-hypertensive treatments.
The researchers gathered data regarding the health of their participants using another initiative. Additionally, the questioned all the participants every 2 years and checked their blood pressure along with other health measurements.
After 6 years, the investigators performed an analysis to check how the blood pressure can impact on the mortality risk of an individual. They also made adjustments according to the potential confounding factors like lifestyle choices, sex, BMI, and the number of drugs taken by participants for controlling blood pressure.
The investigators saw that people more than 80 years of age having a blood pressure lower than 140/90 had a 40 percent higher risk of mortality than those with higher blood pressure than this.
Even the people who had already suffered from a heart attack or a stroke had a similar link between their blood pressure levels and the risk of mortality.
The team also found that people having blood pressure lower than 140/90 mm Hg had a 61 percent more chance of death as compared to those whose blood pressure remained high despite their antihypertensive drug treatment.
The results show that in these groups of patients, antihypertensive drugs must be adjusted on the basis of individual need.
It is important to get away from a blanket approach of using all the recommendations of professional associations to every group of patients.
In the future, the investigators aim to look more deeply at the blood pressure lowing medicines to check when they are the most helpful.