Small Increases in Blood Pressure Raise Heart Death Risk
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To lower one's blood pressure, Sperling advises appropriate medical
treatment, sodium restriction, weight loss, exercise, and minimal alcohol
MacMahon stresses the need to recognize that blood-pressure-related disease
affects many more people than previously thought. "Lifestyle changes should
be considered across the board for individuals at risk," he says. In regard
to medications, he states that most blood pressure-lowering drugs are still
limited to those with diagnosed hypertension. More clinical trials are needed
to investigate the use of blood-pressure lowering drugs on others at risk for
Such studies should begin as soon as possible, MacMahon argues. He notes
that single-drug treatment with most available agents lowers blood pressure by
only 5-10%. Although drug combinations or new drugs can increase this action by
about half, new drugs urgently are needed.
"There is the potential to avoid millions of unnecessary deaths, heart
attacks, and strokes each year by the development of more effective treatments
for blood-pressure reduction," he says.
- Small increases in blood pressure raise the risk of death from coronary
heart disease, even in those who are not diagnosed with high blood
- To lower blood pressure, experts advise medical treatment, sodium
restriction, weight loss, and limited alcohol consumption.
- Blood pressure medications are currently approved only for those who have
diagnosed high blood pressure, but further study is needed for others who are
at risk for blood pressure-related diseases.