Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Smarter' blood pressure guidelines could prevent heart attacks, strokes

Date:
November 4, 2013
Source:
University of Michigan Health System
Summary:
Current medical guidelines use a one-size-fits-all treatment approach that leads to some heart and stroke patients being on too many medications and others being on too little.

A new way of using blood pressure-lowering medications could prevent more than a fourth of heart attacks and strokes -- up to 180,000 a year -- while using less medication overall, according to new research from the University of Michigan Health System and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

Individualizing treatment recommendations using patients' risk of heart disease after considering multiple factors -- such as age, gender and whether or not the patient smokes -- is a more effective way to treat patients than current methods, according to the study that appears in the medical journal, Circulation.

Current medical guidelines use a one-size-fits-all treatment approach based on target blood pressure values that leads to some patients being on too many medications and others being on too little, authors say.

Blood pressure medication is ultimately used to prevent associated heart disease and stroke. Researchers found that a person's blood pressure level is often not the most important factor in determining if a blood pressure medication will prevent these diseases -- but common practice is to base treatment strictly on blood pressure levels.

"Drugs that lower blood pressure are among the most effective and commonly used medications in the country, but we believe they can be used dramatically more effectively," says lead author Jeremy Sussman, M.D., M.Sc., assistant professor of internal medicine in the Division of General Medicine at the U-M Medical School and research scientist at the Center for Clinical Management Research at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

"The purpose of these medications is not actually to avoid high blood pressure itself but to stop heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases. We should guide use of medications by a patient's risk of these diseases and how much adding a new medication decreases that risk -- not solely on their blood pressure level. We found that people who have mildly high blood pressure but high cardiovascular risk receive a lot of benefit from treatment, but those with low overall cardiovascular risk do not."

Current treatment guidelines emphasize specific blood pressure goals, with the majority of treatment driven specifically towards pushing blood pressure below 140/80 mmHg. However, authors say tailored blood pressure treatment decisions based on a patient's overall cardiovascular disease risk -- and the estimated benefits of advancing treatment -- is a substantially more effective model of care.

Authors say new blood pressure guidelines could help patients make informed decisions about their care. For example, if patients knew that medication only slightly reduced their risk of a heart attack or stroke (e.g. from 8 in 100 to 6 in 100 over the next 10 years), they may decide medication is not the right choice for them.

"In addition to resulting in more positive health outcomes for patients, this approach provides the type of information we need to guide individual decisions tailored to the patients' preferences and priorities," says senior author Rod Hayward, professor of Medicine and Public Health and senior investigator at the VA Center for Clinical Management Research.

"Our research shows how we can estimate how much taking more blood pressure medicine will reduce an individual's risk of heart disease and strokes, so that they and their doctor can make the best decision for them."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jeremy Sussman et al. Using Benefit-Based Tailored Treatment to Improve the Use of Antihypertensive Medications. Circulation, November 2013

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan Health System. "'Smarter' blood pressure guidelines could prevent heart attacks, strokes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131104162350.htm>.
University of Michigan Health System. (2013, November 4). 'Smarter' blood pressure guidelines could prevent heart attacks, strokes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131104162350.htm
University of Michigan Health System. "'Smarter' blood pressure guidelines could prevent heart attacks, strokes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131104162350.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins