A whopping 40% of adults (that’s 67 million people!) throughout the world suffer from hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure. Over half of those people only have mild hypertension. However, in a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, a research team has indicated that the treatment of mild hypertension in patients at low risk of developing heart disease or stroke may be unnecessary. Their argument is not to leave hypertension untreated, but to determine at which level of high blood pressure treatment should begin for low-risk patients.
A Little Background
It has been widely accepted in the medical community for some time now that treating people for mild hypertension will reduce the risk of them having a heart attack later on. As a result, doctors have been prescribing mild hypertension medication for lower and lower blood pressure over the years, battling to ensure that people have a normal blood pressure. Research is now raising the question of what level of high blood pressure warrants treatment with medications such as the beta blockers: Acebutolol, Atenolol, Bisoprolol, and Nadolol or the ACE inhibitors: Captopril, Lisinopril, Ramipril, and Trandolapril.
Studies that have been conducted on low-risk patients with mild hypertension have not proven that treatment with medications has any benefit for them. The people treated with drugs were found no less likely to develop or die from coronary heart disease than those people who were treated with a placebo. While overall, these blood pressure medications don’t carry the risk of severe side effects, there is a concern of lowering blood pressure too much, which could put older people, in particular, at a higher risk of experiencing falls due to dizziness and fatigue.
The doctors who conducted the study are suggesting that physicians refrain from prescribing drugs to low risk patients with only mild hypertension and instead help them identify changes in lifestyle that will help them. These changes can include quitting smoking, reducing their consumption of alcohol, and getting more exercise. In addition, these doctors are asking that clinics increase the accuracy of their blood pressure-measuring instruments so that they can more accurately diagnose the level of hypertension.
A Word of Caution
Naturally, if you have a history of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or kidney disease, then you should be prescribed medication to control your blood pressure even if you have only mild hypertension. Consult with your doctor about your condition, your level of risk, and your level of high blood pressure when making a decision about whether or not to treat your hypertension with medication. Should you and your doctor determine that you need medication, visit eDrugSearch.com, where we have been working closely with trusted online pharmacies to save you money on your prescription medications for over seven years. And remember, even if you need to take medication for your hypertension, you can still make lifestyle changes that will help you manage your condition.