Individuals can reduce the risk of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) – a complication of hypertension – by achieving lower systolic blood pressure than what is currently recommended. The findings come from researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
LVH is a condition characterized by the thickening and enlargement of the walls in the left ventricle. LVH is associated with stroke, heart failure and even sudden cardiovascular death. LVH can be reversed by lowering systolic blood pressure – the upper number – but it is unknown if lowering systolic blood pressure below the recommended levels would greatly reduce the risk of LVH.
Researchers examined the effects of lowering systolic blood pressure to 120mmHg – 20mmHg lower than the recommended 140mmHg. Data was taken from 4,331 participants who were part of the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) blood pressure trial.
Half the participants were randomly assigned standard blood pressure techniques, while the other half received intensive therapy. After 4.4 years, those in the intensive group saw a reduction in LVH by 39 percent.
Director Elsayed Z. Soliman, M.D., said, “Our study provides evidence that making less than 120 the target systolic blood pressure in people with hypertension and diabetes reduces LVH. Lowering blood pressure even below the standard is good for heart muscle.”
Another recent study, known as the SPRINT trials, also revealed that keeping blood pressure below 120mmHg is far more beneficial and much healthier.
Soliman concluded, “Notably, only stroke risk – not other cardiovascular events – was reduced in the ACCORD trial, which could be due to certain risks associated with implementing both intensive blood pressure lowering and intensive blood glucose lowering in the same patient.”
The findings were published in Hypertension.