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Lower Blood Pressure Not Always Better For Hypertension Patients

Update Date: Jun 16, 2014 10:40 PM EDT

Lower blood pressure isn't necessarily better for hypertension patients, according to a new study,

Researchers found that lowering systolic blood pressure below 120 does not provide benefit for patients with high blood pressure. Researchers said that systolic pressure is the top number in a standard blood pressure reading.

"Frequently we treat patients' blood pressure to the lowest it will go, thinking that is what's best," lead researcher Carlos J. Rodriguez, M.D., associate professor of public health sciences at Wake Forest Baptist said in a news release.

"Our observational study found that treating to low pressures doesn't provide any benefit to patients with regard to reducing risk of dangerous heart events like heart attack, heart failure and stroke. This calls into question the notion that lower is better," he added.

The latest study involved 4,480 people participating in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. Researchers said participants were monitored for 21 years. Researchers accounted for baseline age, gender, diabetes status, body mass index, cholesterol level, smoking status and alcohol consumption.

The study revealed that once systolic blood pressure was below 140, lowering it below 120 did not reduce the cardiovascular risk of patients with high blood pressure.

"Our study found that the optimal blood pressure range for people with hypertension is120-139, which significantly reduces the risk of stroke, heart attack or heart failure," Rodriguez said. "These findings suggest that you don't need to go lower than that to have the benefits."

The findings were published in the June 16 online edition of JAMA Internal Medicine.

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