November 25, 2015 – BP Goals


Anchor lead: Just how aggressively should you manage your blood pressure? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Blood pressure managed to a target of 120 millimeters of mercury for the top number, also known as the systolic blood pressure, reduced deaths by about one-quarter in a large group of patients without diabetes, including people older than 65, a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found.  Gregory Prokopowicz, a blood pressure expert at Johns Hopkins, interprets the findings.

Prokopowicz: The trial got a lot of publicity because of the benefit in the group that was more aggressively treated.  The figure we often hear is a 25% reduction in heart attack, stroke, or similar events or a 27% reduction in death from any cause. But it’s important to put those figures in context.  In the intensive treated group the rate of the events was a little bit less than 2% per year and in the standard treatment group was little bit more than 2% per year.   :28

Prokopowicz says the findings must be considered for each individual within their own risk-benefit calculus, so talk with your provider.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.