Is Your Blood Pressure Putting You at Risk for Heart Issues?

A study was conducted to determine the difference between using intensive measures to lower systolic blood pressure (SBP) to less than 120 mm Hg as opposed to continuing “routine management” to maintain SBP below 140 mm Hg.

Researchers followed over 9,000 participants for up to 5 years.  To be eligible for the study, participants had to be at least 50 years of age and have a diagnosis of hypertension including SBP 130 mm Hg or higher.  Additionally, they had one or more risk factors for heart disease.  The participants were split between 2 groups.  One received routine maintenance and the other received intensive care.  Participants in the intensive group were given, on average, one additional medication to help lower BP.  The results were so compelling that the study was concluded early. SBP for the intensive group were almost 15 Hg lower.

Primary results showed that the incidence of myocardial infarction (MI), acute coronary syndrome (ACS), stroke, congestive heart failure (CHF), and cardiovascular (CV) death were all significantly lower in the intensive SBP lowering group when compared to the routine maintenance group.  Furthermore, the overall mortality rate was lower in the intensive group.

If these findings are applied to the US population, (based on National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data from 2007 to 2012), approximately 16.8 million adults need to lower their blood pressure.  However, that same survey found just under half, about 8.2 million, are being treated.   Researchers developed a model “to assess costs, clinical outcomes, and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) among SPIRIT-eligible adults.”  Multiple simulations showed that the intensive care was cost-effective, even for patients who reduced or discontinued treatment after 5 years.

As a result of this trial, the medical community has reevaluated recommendations for the treatment and monitoring of patients with high blood pressure.  Specifically, this has led to a more individualized approach “based on underlying risk of CV outcomes rather than based on absolute values alone.”

You can learn more about the new recommendations at

There are many factors that go into maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  A consistent blood pressure is just one of those factors. Prevention, active self-care and coordination with health care providers as needed, must come together for individual wellness.  Your chiropractor can check your BP when you are in the office as well as assist you with making good choices for nutrition and exercise.  Find a doctor near you as well as articles on wellness, nutrition, exercise and more here.


Source: Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial – SPRINT, Summarized by Dharam J. Kumbhani, MD, SM, FACC Original Posted Date:05/19/2016  Date Updated:11/13/2017