A new study is changing the way doctors think about lowering blood pressure.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, recommends that people over 50 have their blood pressure lowered to less than 120 mm Hg, compared to the typical recommendation of 140 to 150 mm Hg. Researchers say they found among the participants a 26 percent lower death rate and a 38 percent lower heart attack rate if blood pressures were lowered to 120 mm Hg.
This is fairly major news in that it runs against typical thinking in the medical community. It could mean doctors start prescribing more hypertension medicine than before, a move that could affect more than 17 million Americans.
The change does come with concerns. For example, lower blood pressure could mean people run the risk of light-headedness and possible falls. The next step falls on national organizations, such as the American Heart Association, to decide whether to change their recommendations.