Harvard Men's Health Watch

New recommendations relax the trigger point for taking medication

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Less aggressive treatment prevents side effects but could lessen the proven benefits of treating high blood pressure.

New expert recommendations for treating high blood pressure call for a higher threshold at which men age 60 and older should consider taking medication to lower their blood pressure. The new treatment threshold is 150/90 mm Hg, higher than the previous recommendation of 140/90.

Less aggressive treatment could mean lower health care costs and slightly less risk of medication side effects. But some experts worry that it could increase health risks. "We are concerned that relaxing the recommendation may expose more people to the problem of inadequately controlled blood pressure," says Dr. Elliott Antman, a cardiologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital and the president-elect of the American Heart Association.

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