A new study has revealed that tighter blood pressure control could save up to 100,000 American lives. Current blood pressure guidelines recommend a systolic reading – the top number – of 140 mm Hg or less. A 2015 study recommends that more lives would be saved if guidelines brought that number down to 120 mm Hg.
The study is known as the SPRINT trial which included adults over the age of 50 with systolic blood pressure readings between 130 to 180 mm Hg. These participants underwent either intensive treatment to reduce systolic blood pressure to 120 mm Hg or standard treatment to bring it to 140 mm Hg.
The risk of all-cause mortality was reduced by 27 percent in the intensive treatment group, and heart disease mortality was reduced by 43 percent.
Although the results seemed promising, experts around the world are weighing in on the findings. Some suggest that the study is flawed because the doctors were not involved.
The American Heart Association is expected to review the current blood pressure guidelines some time in 2017. It is still unclear whether the new target number will be implemented.
Dr. Carl Pepine, president of the American College of Cardiology, said, “At the present time, I don’t think there’s a strong compelling reason not to shoot for a lower blood pressure target, even in an older patient, knowing this dramatic benefit that can result.”