New research finds that people with normal blood pressure and no history of heart disease may benefit from taking blood pressure medications.
The meta-analysis, which published May 1 in The Lancet, found that each 5 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure reduced the risk of heart attack or stroke by about 10 percent, even in people with no history of heart disease.
According to the researchers, the findings suggest pharmacological blood pressure-lowering drugs can help prevent heart disease and stroke in certain people who are at risk of a cardiac event.
Cardiologists say the findings highlight the need to further evaluate if and how some people with normal blood pressure who are at risk for cardiovascular disease may benefit from taking blood pressure-lowering medications.
Traditionally, blood pressure-lowering medications are only prescribed to people with abnormal blood pressure levels.
More studies will need to determine what risk factors — such as people with diabetes, smokers, and those with a family history of heart disease— may indicate the use of blood pressure medications.
“Defining those increased risks remains important and requires careful consideration by patients and doctors before starting treatment based on this meta-analysis,” said Dr. Steven Schiff, a cardiologist and medical director of invasive cardiology and service chief of cardiology for MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.