Harvard Heart Letter

When should we treat blood pressure?

Blood pressure–lowering medications are known to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in people whose blood pressure has risen above 160 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Among those with lower but still elevated blood pressure, the presence of other cardiovascular risk factors is being used as a guide for whether individuals should begin taking medication. In people whose risk might be slightly elevated, many doctors now prescribe one or two antihypertension medications in an effort to lower the risk.
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