New Blood Pressure Guidelines Can Cut Heart and Kidney Disease Risk
A landmark study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides key support for the new 2017 Hypertension Clinical Practice Guidelines recently announced by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. According to these new blood pressure guidelines – the first update in more than a decade – high blood pressure treatment (with lifestyle changes and/or medication) should begin at 130/80 mm Hg rather than 140/90 mm Hg.
Results of the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) – a clinical study that began in 2009 and involved more than 9,300 participants from about 100 medical centers and clinical practices throughout the United States – played an important role in developing these new guidelines. The goal of this study, which looked at how systolic blood pressure was to determine the most effective ways to treat high blood pressure, or hypertension, in adults over 50 who are at high risk for heart disease. (Systolic blood pressure is the top number in blood pressure readings; it refers to the amount of pressure in the arteries during contraction of the heart muscle.)
SPRINT is the largest study to date examining how systolic blood pressure lower than 140 mm Hg impacts the risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.