Ethics in Medicine

Guidelines for Hypertension Medications Eased

Kristen Sparrow • December 23, 2013

blood-pressure11Common sense guidelines instead of arbitrarily treating a number in the elderly.  Still fairly strict, BP should be below 150/90 in people over 60 years, 140/90 in younger patients.  I have quite a few patients I’m treating for High Blood Pressure and I must say, acupuncture can be really effective in keeping blood pressure low enough to avoid medications.

Medications that lower blood pressure can have effects that counteract some of the benefits, said Dr. Suzanne Oparil, a co-chairwoman of the committee and director of the vascular biology and hypertension program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. For that reason, maximum benefits may occur with less intense treatment and higher blood pressure.

“The mantra of blood pressure experts in the past has been that lower is better,” Dr. Oparil said. “Recent studies don’t seem to support that.”

For example, two Japanese studies in older people found that those who reduced their systolic pressure to less than 140 fared no better than those who reduced it to between 140 and 160, or between 140 and 149.

“We have this notion that if we can get blood pressure to normal, we will have the most health benefits,” Dr. James said. “That’s not necessarily true.”