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For your heart

Here's why you should really work on getting your blood pressure down

It has all kinds of good effects.

USING INTENSIVE TREATMENT to lower blood pressure could have wide-ranging good effects.

Getting your blood pressure down reduces rates of major cardiovascular events like stroke and heart attack according to a large meta-analysis involving almost 45,000 people, published in The Lancet.

A recent US study in patients with diabetes cast doubt on the benefits of intensive blood pressure lowering. But this analysis of all trials shows benefits in a range of patients, not just those with diabetes.

“A key finding was the consistency of findings across major patient groups, those with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, renal disease and also those with just hypertension,” explains co-author Professor Jicheng Lv, from Peking University First Hospital, Beijing, China.

Intensive management of blood pressure reduced the risk of heart attacks by 14% and strokes by almost 25%.

The authors believe that this evidence is enough to warrant a review of clinical guidelines for patients.

“This is a really important area – cardiovascular deaths are our leading killer, most occur in high risk people who have already had a ‘warning sign’ and most occur among people with blood pressure levels which have, until now, widely been regarded as acceptable,” adds Professor Lv.

The absolute benefits were greatest in trials in which all patients had vascular disease, kidney disease, or diabetes. The reductions in disease were similar regardless of age or blood pressure before treatment.

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