Treating high blood pressure with antihypertensive medication can greatly reduce your risk for heart attack, stroke and heart failure, but such treatment cannot undo all of the previous damage or restore cardiovascular disease risk to ideal levels, says a study.
“The best outcomes were seen in those who always had ideal levels of blood pressure and never required medications,” said senior author of the study Donald Lloyd-Jones from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, US.
“Those who were treated with medication and achieved ideal levels were still at roughly twice the risk of those with untreated ideal levels. And, of course, people with untreated or uncontrolled high blood pressure were at even greater risk,” Lloyd-Jones noted.
He stressed that it remains very important to treat high blood pressure and that lowering blood pressure with antihypertensive medications has been found to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease significantly in middle-aged and older adults.
For the study, the researchers analysed data from nearly 9,000 participants and found that patients with antihypertensive medication with well-controlled hypertension still had twice the risk of cardiovascular disease events in the next nine and a half years compared with participants who had the same low blood pressure levels without treatment.
The new findings strongly suggest that there should be an even greater effort to maintain lower blood pressure levels in younger adults to avoid increases in blood pressure over time that may eventually require medication.
“A greater focus on healthy lifestyles, such as healthier eating patterns, with more fruits and vegetables and lower sodium intake and regular participation in physical activity are the best means for preventing blood pressure levels that might require medication,” Lloyd-Jones said.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.