Treating out-of-control blood pressure with antihypertensive medication can greatly reduce your risk for heart attack, stroke, and heart failure, but the current approach to treatment can’t undo all of the previous damage or restore cardiovascular disease risk to ideal levels, a new Northwestern Medicine study suggests.
“The best outcomes were seen in those who always had ideal levels of blood pressure and never required medications,” said senior author of the study Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, chair of the Department the Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University and member of the Institute for Public Health and Medicine. “Those who were treated with medication and achieved ideal levels were still at roughly twice the risk of those with untreated ideal levels. And, of course, people with untreated or uncontrolled high blood pressure were at even greater risk.”
He stressed that it remains very important to treat high blood pressure and that lowering blood pressure with antihypertensive medications has been found to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease significantly in middle-aged and older adults.
The new findings strongly suggest that there should be an even greater effort to maintain lower blood pressure levels in younger adults to avoid increases in blood pressure over time that may eventually require medication.
“A greater focus on healthy lifestyles, such as healthier eating patterns, with more fruits and vegetables and lower sodium intake and regular participation in physical activity are the best means for preventing blood pressure levels that might require medication,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones said.
Read journal article: http://jaha.ahajournals.org/content/4/9/e002275.full.pdf+html