Close X
Get more out of WDDTY.com
by joining the site for free
Free 17-point plan to great health
Twice weekly e-news bulletins
Access to our News, Forums and Blogs
Sign up for free and claim your
17-point plan to great health
Free 17-point plan to great health

Twice weekly e-news bulletins

Access to our News, Forums and Blogs
OR

If you want to read our in-depth research articles or
have our amazing magazine delivered to your home
each month, then you have to pay.


Click here if you're interested
Helping you make better health choices

In shops now or delivered to your home from only £3.50 an issue!

Subscribe!

High blood pressure:we're looking at the wrong numbers
About the author: 

Doctors treating high blood pressure rely on the wrong methods to measure blood pressure, a Belgian study has discovered

Doctors treating high blood pressure rely on the wrong methods to measure blood pressure, a Belgian study has discovered.

The study, from the University of Leuven, Belgium, was a meta analysis of major blood pressure studies and found that doctors can misjudge a patient's need for antihypertensive therapy as well as the risk of fatal and non fatal complications because they focus almost exclusively on diastolic blood pressure measurements those measuring the pressure of blood returning to the heart.

To examine the importance of diastolic, systolic and mean BP measurements on the risk of fatal and non fatal coronary and vascular events, the Belgian team carried out a meta analysis of eight trials involving 15,693 patients aged 60 years or more. The study included patients with systolic hypertension (a systolic BP of 160 mmHg or greater and a diastolic BP less than 95 mmHg), who were followed up for an average of 3.8 years.

Overall, the Belgian researchers found that, in untreated patients, systolic blood pressure was a more accurate predictor of fatal and non fatal complications than diastolic blood pressure.

The researchers concluded that a 10-mmHg increase in systolic BP was significantly linked with increases of nearly 10 per cent in the risk of all fatal and non fatal complications, except coronary events.

In contrast, lower diastolic BP measurements were associated with an increase in total and cardiovascular mortality. Nevertheless, diastolic BP did not prove to have a significant influence on deaths from all causes.

What was significant, say the authors, was the pulse pressure in each of the patients. This proved to be useful in targeting those who might benefit from antihypertensive treatment. A pulse pressure of 90 mmHg or more proved protective.

If only those with a lower pulse pressure were treated, the number of patients needed to be treated in order to prevent one cardiovascular death would be reduced by nearly half.

Across all the trials reviewed, antihypertensive therapy was less effective than many would imagine. Overall, drugs only reduced fatal and non fatal events by 26 per cent for all cardiovascular complications, 30 per cent for stroke and 23 per cent for coronary events.

The meta analysis concluded that those most likely to benefit from antihypertensive therapy were men, older patients and those with previous cardiovascular complications (Lancet, 2000; 355: 865-72).


You may also be interested in...

Latest Tweet

About

Since 1989, WDDTY has provided thousands of resources on how to beat asthma, arthritis, depression and many other chronic conditions.

Start by looking in our fully searchable database, active and friendly community forums and the latest health news.

Positive SSL Wildcard

Facebook Twitter

Most Popular Health Website of the Year 2014

© 2010 - 2017 WDDTY Publishing Ltd.
All Rights Reserved