Even if your blood pressure reading falls within the recommended guidelines, your heart might not be as protected as you think: Lowering high blood pressure to below the current guidelines significantly reduces your risk of heart disease, a new meta-analysis published in JAMA Cardiology concluded.
In the review, researchers crunched the numbers from 42 clinical trials involving more than 144,000 patients on hypertension and heart disease or mortality risks.
They found that lowering high systolic blood pressure to below the current guidelines—which is 140 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or lower—significantly reduced the risk of developing major heart disease or dying of any cause.
In fact, people whose systolic blood pressure was lowered to between 120 to 124 mm Hg were most protected, the study found.
Compared to those whose systolic BP was stabilized at 130 to 134 mm Hg, they were 29 percent less likely to develop major heart disease and 27 percent less likely to die prematurely.
The findings suggest the need to revise the current blood pressure guidelines for people with hypertension, study author Jiang He, M.D., said in a news release.
People with high blood pressure may need more intensive treatment to get their readings down even lower.
Still, the researchers note, intensive lowering of blood pressure does come with some health risks, like hypotension (too-low blood pressure), electrolyte abnormalities, and kidney injury.
So it’s extra important that your doctor manage you carefully if you are on a more intensive BP-lowering regimen.