Millions of healthy people should be prescribed blood pressure lowering medication because the pills can prevent heart attacks later in life, a major study has claimed. In the biggest study of its kind, Oxford University researchers found lowering levels even from a healthy starting point slashed the risk of heart disease and strokes years down the line.
Currently, treatment is only given to people with extremely high blood pressure, known medically as hypertension. It means about a million Britons are prescribed the cheap pills – which cost between 28p and £1 a day – every year.
Oxford scientists: blood pressure medication can reduce heart attack risk
Oxford scientists claimed this threshold prevents millions of people who could benefit from the drugs from accessing them and are now calling for a complete overhaul to the way they are prescribed.
Doctors should look at a person’s overall risk of heart disease, including weight, exercise levels and family medical history – instead of solely relying on blood pressure levels, they say. Cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins are already prescribed in this way and anyone with a 10 per cent chance of future heart troubles is encouraged to take them.
If the same approach was used for blood pressure drugs then 12million more people would become eligible for prescriptions. Millions of healthy people should be prescribed blood pressure medication because the pills can prevent heart attacks later in life, scientists say.
300 mg of #magnesium daily was linked w/a 3-4 mmHg reduction in systolic & diastolic #bloodpressure after #exercise. Magnesium may reduce #stress on the heart muscle after a workout. (J. International Sports Nutrition. 12:19.2015) pic.twitter.com/USBMvacw4W
— Kristie Leong M.D. (@DrKristieLeong) March 3, 2019
Blood pressure and risk of heart attacks directly correlated
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and is given as two figures – systolic pressure, the pressure when your heart pushes blood out, and diastolic pressure, the pressure when your heart rests between beats.
As a general guide, ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. Currently people in the UK are considered to have hypertension if their blood pressure is above 140/90.
They are then prescribed drugs such as beta blockers, which reduce stress on the heart, or ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers, which relax blood vessels. But the latest study, which looked at data from 350,000 people, found heart disease could be prevented if blood pressure was reduced from much lower levels.
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Presenting the findings at the European Society of Cardiology congress, study leader Kazem Rahimi, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at Oxford, said: ‘Greater drops in blood pressure with medication lead to greater reductions in the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Online Int’l News with additional input by GVS News Desk