Features June 2010 Issue

Research Shows That Blood Pressure Targets Need Individual Attention

In general, lower is better, but some patients can tolerate a blood pressure that is higher than recommended levels. Patients with diabetes should be especially careful.

While the target blood pressure for most heart patients is below 130 mmHG (systolic) and 80 mmHG (diastolic), for some patients higher rates may be safe, and an approach that too aggressively seeks to lower blood pressure (bp) levels could be dangerous. Recent research also shows that the systolic target of 130 may not be as critical to positive outcomes as previously thought. In a study presented at this year’s American College of Cardiology conference, researchers found that patients with diabetes and coronary artery disease (CAD) and a systolic pressure of less than 130 had about the same risk of heart attack, stroke and death as those above 130, but less than 140. A systolic pressure of 140 or greater is considered hypertensive.

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