Harvard Men's Health Watch

Treating mild high blood pressure reduces heart problems

A recent study in Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that people with mild high blood pressure and no symptoms of heart disease can still benefit from taking blood pressure medication.

When your blood pressure tips above 140/90 mm Hg, most doctors suggest medication—in addition to healthy diet and exercise. The higher your blood pressure, the greater the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death. What experts disagree on is how low you should shoot for once your blood pressure is clearly above the 140/90 threshold.

A team of researchers pooled findings from 13 clinical trials that included about 15,000 people. The study assessed the value of treatment for people with mild hypertension, which means a blood pressure of 140 to 159 mm Hg systolic (the upper number) and 90 to 99 diastolic (the lower number).

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