ORLANDO – A study published Monday by the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that almost 17 million people in the US could benefit from a more aggressive treatment to reduce their blood pressure. This might change the approach of this matter in the country.

The Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT), which is a randomized, controlled, open-label trial, was carried-out at 102 clinical sites in the United States and nearly ten thousand patients took part in it. They were required to have an age of at least 50 years, a top blood pressure of 130 to 180 mm Hg and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Researchers of the study said that 16.8 million people over 50 years nationwide would fit the study and the criteria. Photo: Independent

“Given that millions of US adults meet SPRINT eligibility criteria, the implementation of SPRINT recommendations could have a profound impact on how blood pressure is treated in this country,” declared senior author Paul Muntner, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Alabama. The treatment involves a combination of medicaments to reduce blood pressure and a healthy lifestyle.

The investigation, which was finished two years earlier due to the clear-as-water encouraging results, found only a 2% higher rate of side effects from lower blood pressure, including fainting and kidney issues. “The positive results of this trial have taken most investigators by surprise, and the strong benefits of treatment seem to outweigh the risks,” commented co-author Alfred Cheung, chief of nephrology and hypertension at University of Utah Health Care.

The risk of heart attack, heart failure or stroke was reduced by 24 percent in patients who reduced their top blood pressure –known in the medical field as “systolic number”– to less than 120mm Hg, whereas the current guidelines advise patients to keep their systolic number up to 140.

Nevertheless, further research is required to change the current guidelines. Cheung suggested that there still are some unanswered questions and that it might be best to continue investigating before starting to treat blood pressure aggressively. He and his colleagues are still studying how the treatment might affect cognition and dementia.

Globally, over a billion people suffer from hypertension, a condition that consists of a systolic blood pressure of 140 or more and a diastolic blood pressure higher than 90. Natural methods to lower blood pressure include meditation, physical activity, adopting a pet and eating pressure-reducing foods such as chocolate, bananas and beans.

Source: Huffington Post