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Low Blood Pressure More Important than Thought

Update Date: Nov 10, 2015 09:32 AM EST
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New research is reinforcing just how important it is for people to monitor and control their blood pressure as best as they possibly can, and well below the levels previously thought acceptable.

People who keep their systolic blood pressure at 120 or below, versus the previously recommended 140 or 150, can reduce negative health impacts like heart disease, stroke, and death by 25 percent, according to The New York Times.

The research was both published in the New England Journal of Medicine and announced at an American Heart Association meeting. The study looked at more than 9,000 patients with hypertension and followed them for roughly 3 years.

People who brought their blood pressure to 120 or below died 27 percent less often and reported 38 percent less cases of heart failure.

The findings are all the more critical given the fact that for decades the government and health professionals had said systolic blood pressure needed to be only around 140 or 150. Also critical is the fact that older people who hit the 120 threshold had the same results as younger members of the group that were studied.

The Times reports that the discovery could impact around 17 million Americans who will now need to take hypertension drugs or improve their eating and exercise habits.

Complicating matters is the fact that blood pressure also shouldn't get too low, as it can cause fainting and dizziness. The elderly are the most likely to suffer adverse effects from blood pressure going too low.

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