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A few notes on blood pressure


It’s a Matter of Your Health

I want to inform you of a few news worthy events, which have recently occurred in the medical literature.

Last week a study looking at hypertension was ended early. The study first looked at people that were fifty years of age and older. Researchers were trying to determine whether intensive control of blood pressure in people 50 years of age or older was beneficial. Regular control was designated as a systolic blood pressure of 140. The intensive control was designated as a systolic blood pressure of 120.

The systolic blood pressure was chosen to follow as it is considered to have a greater impact on cardiovascular disease.

Interestingly, in this study there were many different medications used to achieve the stated blood pressure goals. So as of now no single medication was deemed the star. The end results showed that those who were able to get their blood pressures to the 120 systolic goals had a 30 percent decrease in cardiovascular disease and death.

We will be awaiting additional information on this study. It does appear though, that we should go back to making sure we get our patients' systolic readings lowered to 120 if they are able to tolerate that blood pressure. Of note, the patients in this study were encouraged to follow a healthy diet, to exercise, reduce stress and follow good health habits. It all helps. Make sure you consult your healthcare provider. You may need to make changes to be more aggressive in controlling blood pressure.

A second subject that I want to briefly touch upon is NSAIDS, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These are a class of medications that provide pain relief, fever reduction and in high dosages anti-inflammatory or reduction in inflammation or swelling.

The FDA has recently released stronger cardiovascular warnings for these medications which include prescription strength NSAIDS and over the counter NSAIDS. These medications have been shown to slightly increase the risk of heart disease in people who do and do not have heart disease. This risk goes up within days of usage. It is increased by the longer the duration of usage and the higher the dosage of NSAIDS. It is recommended that we avoid NSAID usage in patients with heart disease and a history of gastrointestinal bleeding. If the risk benefit ratio is such that an NSAID is appropriate, certain ones are better than others. Make sure you discuss this with your healthcare provider and come up with a plan of what you will use if acetaminophen is not adequate.

Veita Bland is a board certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Tune into Dr. Bland’s radio health program, It’s a Matter of Your Health: The 30 Minute Health Magazine, Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on WNAA, 90.1FM. Dr. Bland can also be heard on Wednesdays Sirius/XM at 5 p.m. on station 142. Contact Dr. Bland with suggestions for future articles: or follow on Twitter @Drvbland.