-- Robert Preidt
SATURDAY, March 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- About 5.8 million
American adults may no longer be prescribed drugs to treat high
blood pressure under recently revised guidelines, according to a
In February, the Eighth Joint National Committee released
controversial guidelines that relaxed blood pressure goals in
adults 60 and older from 140/90 to 150/90. The guidelines also
eased blood pressure targets for adults with diabetes and kidney
In this study, researchers used blood pressure data collected
from more than 16,000 Americans between 2005 and 2010 to assess the
impact of the revised guidelines.
The proportion of adults considered eligible for medication to
treat high blood pressure would fall from about 41 percent to 32
percent, the authors concluded in the study published online March
29 in the
Journal of the American Medical Associationand presented
Saturday at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting in
The researchers also said that 13.5 million adults -- most of
them older than 60 -- who were considered to have poorly controlled
blood pressure would now be viewed as having adequately managed
blood pressure. That includes 5.8 million adults who would no
longer require blood pressure pills.
"The new guidelines do not address whether these adults should still be considered as having hypertension. But they would no longer need medication to lower their blood pressure," study lead author Ann Marie Navar-Boggan, a cardiology fellow at Duke University School of Medicine, said in a Duke news release.
One in four adults older than 60 currently receives treatment
for high blood pressure, according to the researchers.
"These adults would be eligible for less intensive blood pressure medication under the new guidelines, particularly if they were experiencing side effects," Navar-Boggan said. "But many experts fear that increasing blood pressure levels in these adults could be harmful."
Even under the new guidelines, about 28 million U.S. adults
still have uncontrolled high blood pressure and more than half of
them don't receive treatment, said Navar-Boggan, who noted that
uncontrolled high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart attack
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
high blood pressure.
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