A landmark new study has shown definitively that lower blood pressure, much lower than the current recommended 140 level, can save lives and prevent a host of lifestyle diseases.
Contrary to popular belief, where lower blood pressure has been speculatively linked to cardiovascular disease, scientists are now saying lower blood pressure is the key to living a longer life after 50.
A recent study had 9,300 adults over 50, who had high risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, aim for much lower blood pressures of below 120 millimeters of mercury on the systolic measure.
The current recommended lowest level is 140 millimeters, 20 millimeters more than what the doctors in this study recommended.
Initially, doctors slated the study to end in 2017. However, after recording valid and impressive results, they chose an early release as the information gathered could “potentially be life saving.”
The study found that the participants who were assigned to reach systolic levels of below 120 had their risk of heart attack, heart disease and stroke reduce by a third while their risk of death reduced by over a quarter.
Dr. J. Michael Gaziano, professor of medicine at Harvard medical school said the research was outstanding. He said it could “shake things up” in the medical world the same way the discovery of low cholesterol being better had done before.
Up to 79 million adults in the U.S. suffer from high blood pressure. That amounts to one in three adults. Half of those being treated still have high systolic pressure of above 140 and are being advised not to go below 140. The new research will provide a different narrative with regard to blood pressure for these patients; going low is actually good for your health.
Previously, no evidence existed showing low blood pressure reduced the risk of heart disease. Doctors therefore urged patients over 60 to maintain a blood pressure above 150. It was not always easy to reach these goals. Those urged to reach 140 took two drugs on average while those with a target of 120 took an average of three drugs. Thankfully, most of these drugs are available as generics and are therefore affordable.
The heart institute is also studying the effects of lower blood pressure on the kidneys and brain. Medics have urged patients not to panic after word on the new study broke out. According to the doctors, there was no need for an abrupt change of treatment as high blood pressure takes its toll slowly.
The new study ushers a new age in preventive healthcare for adults over 50. Through lowering blood pressure, the patients will be able to live longer more fruitful lives, rather than live prone to cardiovascular complications.