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Too low blood pressure can increase the cardiovascular risk
Not only too high, but also too low blood pressure poses a health hazard. The lower pressure in the blood vessels is associated with an increased cardiovascular risk. Experts are therefore in favor of setting a lower limit for blood pressure, which doctors and patients can use as a guide.
Most people are warned about high blood pressure
When it comes to blood pressure, you are usually warned about high values. After all, high blood pressure is considered a major risk factor for potentially fatal cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks or strokes. Although values above 140 to 90 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) are currently referred to as hypertension, experts say that the new blood pressure target should be 120 instead of 140. As a recent study now shows, not only high but also low blood pressure poses a health risk. Experts therefore advocate a lower limit for the values.
Effects of low blood pressure
Too low blood pressure (hypotension) is often only noticed by those affected if, in certain situations, dizziness, ringing in the ears or sensitivity to cold develop.
Although hypotension is considered to be rather harmless in many, the low blood pressure can also be an indication of diseases such as an underactive thyroid or cardiac muscle weakness.
In addition, scientists from the Netherlands reported a study that low blood pressure could be a possible cause of dementia.
Hypertension treatment with medication
Knowing what the dramatic consequences of hypertension can be, medication is often used to lower blood pressure.
However, if the value falls too low, it can have as negative an impact on health as high blood pressure. This has now been shown in a study published in the specialist magazine "The Lancet".
The data from more than 30,900 patients aged 55 and over were evaluated for the study. 70 percent of the participants suffered from high blood pressure and were treated with medication.
The development of blood pressure values and the occurrence of negative health effects in these patients were observed for a total of 56 months.
Increased mortality if blood pressure is too low
It was shown that the treatment had a positive effect only in the patients who were stable on systolic blood pressure values between 120 and 140 mmHg and a diastolic blood pressure around 75 mmHg.
According to the researchers, the number of cardiovascular problems and deaths from such diseases decreased.
However, patients who reached systolic blood pressure levels below 120 mmHg were 14 percent higher at risk of cardiovascular events. According to the evaluation, mortality increased by 28 percent.
In addition, the cardiovascular risk of the patients increased if the lower blood pressure value fell below 70 mmHg.
Set lower limit for blood pressure
Therefore, study director Prof. Michael Böhm from Saarland University in Homburg / Saar could imagine setting a lower limit for the blood pressure target value, reports the portal "Kardiologie.org".
"Our analysis indicates that the lowest possible blood pressure is not necessarily the optimal target for all high-risk patients," said the scientist.
According to the researchers, a blood pressure target of less than 130 mmHg is desirable for most high-risk patients, but the 120 mmHg limit should not be exceeded.
The study authors also assume that the benefit of an achieved blood pressure level can differ individually and is dependent on the respective risk profile.
For example, people with a particularly high risk of stroke may benefit from even lower blood pressure, while such a range is disadvantageous for those who are more prone to a heart attack.
The results also make it clear that an individualized approach is required in high blood pressure therapy. (ad)