Effects of SPRINT blood pressure trials

It seems a recent study on blood pressure has caused some confusion among those diagnosed with high blood pressure. The study we are referring to is called SPRINT, (Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial). The study suggests that decreasing blood pressure from the current guidelines, could in fact decrease the risk of heart failure, and death for some individuals.

Yet according to many experts, they question the validity of the study concerning most people with high blood pressure. The reason being is that the study was performed on a relatively small patient population in a higher risk bracket than most. Under the current guidelines, the ideal is a systolic pressure (top number) of 120 millimeters of mercury or less. A diastolic pressure (bottom number) of 80 mm Hg or less. You’re considered to have high blood pressure if the systolic hits 140 or the diastolic goes to 90 or above.

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The SPRINT study sought to end this debate once and for all. At first glance the results suggest that the lower the numbers the better. But the side effects were not healthy. In order for those patients to get their blood pressure down to 120 or lower they had to take 3 different medications. This resulted in some clients needing emergency treatment in the hospital. Conditions such as kidney failure, dangerously low blood pressure, and sodium potassium imbalances affected the group.

Is it worth the risk? If you are in the high risk group, and only 1 in 6 people with high blood pressure are in this group speak with your physician. But by all means try lifestyle modifications before running to try SPRINT.


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