National Institutes of Health Likely To Recommend Lower Blood Pressure For The Elderly
The National Institutes of Health has done a landmark Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) study that is sure to have a severe impact on people 50 years and older. The study began in the fall of 2009 and included more than 9,300 participants 50 years and older throughout the Unites States and Puerto Rico.
The study analyzed how maintaining a systolic pressure below the current recommendations effected heart disease. The ideal normal blood pressure for adults under 60 is 120/80 mm and below. The current recommendation for healthy adults under 60 is 140/90mm and for adults with heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease or certain other conditions the number is 130/90mm. The current recommended blood pressure for adults over 60 is 150/90 mm.
The results of the landmark study indicated blood pressure below the current recommendations significantly reduced cardiovascular disease rates, and lowered risk of death in adults 50 years and older.
Participants in the trial were given blood pressure drugs to keep their systolic pressure at the ideal 120 mm, and the reduction in systolic pressure from 140/150 mm reduced heart attack and stroke by one-third and risk of death by one-quarter.
Lawrence Fine, M.D., chief, Clinical Applications and Prevention Branch at NHLBI said:
“Our results provide important evidence that treating blood pressure to a lower goal in older or high-risk patients can be beneficial and yield better health results overall…But patients should talk to their doctor to determine whether this lower goal is best for their individual care.”
The study also examined how lower blood pressure affected kidney disease, cognitive function, and dementia, but the results are still being collected and analyzed so the primary results won’t be available until a few months.
If the lower systolic blood pressure is recommended that can mean an increase prescribed medication to maintain a systolic pressure of 120 mm, and closer monitoring of people’s blood pressure.
 High blood pressure (hypertension)