Thursday, May 30, 2013

Are We Over-Treating High Blood Pressure? - Peter Lipson

Forbes is not my usual go-to for my medical posts here but I thought this was an article worthy of note. Here is a small quote from the article. Please read the complete

Are We Over-Treating High Blood Pressure?
By: Peter Lipson,

Heath argues that this is too aggressive, and that we over-treat people whose BPs run in the 140-160/90s range. She bases her opinion on a recent review published by the Cochrane Collaboration, an evidence-based medicine group that keeps an eye on such things. The review included data from four studies (they use fairly strict selection criteria).

Cochrane’s conclusions were fairly clear: when data from the four studies were analyzed,  the treatment of mild hypertension did not prevent important outcomes such as heart attack and stroke, but did cause side-effects.

At what level to treat high blood pressure is a hugely important question, given it’s impact on the nation’s health. As I said above, we’re talking about people who don’t already have other heart risks, and we’re talking about whether or not to commit them to long-term treatment. We’re also talking about patients who have not been able to bring their pressures down through proper diet and exercise (which, unfortunately, is a whole lot of people).

So what evidence is there to treat so-called low risk people with mild high blood pressure?

Read the complete article here.

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