Globally, there are millions of people that could benefit from an intensive lowering of blood pressure (BP). An individual with lower BP decreases their chances of suffering from any cardiovascular events such as: stroke, heart disease or heart attacks. A new study shows that lowering blood pressure to less than 140 mm Hg, the current treatment standard, had significant benefits.

Professor Stephen MacMahon – Principle Director of The George Institute – mentions: “We have previously shown that lowering BP below 140 mm Hg is of great benefit to people with diabetes and people who have had a previous stroke, but this new finding indicates that the benefits are much wider.”

“We urgently need new recommendations encouraging both doctors and patients to aim for much lower levels of BP than were previously thought necessary” said Professor MacMahon.

Partnering with Peking University First Hospital, the Institute conducted a study known as Effects of intensive blood pressure lowering on cardiovascular and renal outcomes: updated systematic review and meta-analysis; which found that patients who received intensive treatment had their BP lowered to 133 mm Hg as opposed to 140 mm Hg – among the patients who received less intensive treatment. This produced a 13% reduction in heart attacks and a 22% reduction in stroke.

Professor Vlado Perkovic – Executive Director for the Institute – has stated that: “There are very few treatments proven to reduce the risk of death among mostly healthy people, but lowering BP to low target levels is now one of them.”

The Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention (SPRINT) study involved over 9,000 patients with high risk of heart disease or kidney disease (affecting their BP). It was gathered that patients who reached a systolic BP below 120 mm Hg decreased their risk of heart attacks and strokes by nearly a third and risk of blood pressure related death by close to 25%.

“These latest results confirm that medical treatment for those at high risk of stroke or heart attack needs to be more intensive; and when this is achieved, the benefits will be very worthwhile” says Professor Perkovic.

Worldwide, there are billions of people with high BP levels. Individuals suffering from high BP should be taking action to reduce their risk of stroke and other vascular problems – especially when initial BP levels have yet to reach a high level. The studies conducted provide fundamental evidence on what the target level should be, and who would benefit.