Blood pressure represents a health risk because it overloads the heart and the vessels in the long run and can lead untreated to a heart attack or stroke. The main focus of the treatment is therefore the reduction of blood pressure. According to the "SPRINT" study, which appeared in November last year, a target of 120 mmHg should be aimed at - and not as before a value of 140 mmHg. Does this prescription apply to every patient? And are side effects expected? In an interview with the magazine "Herz heute", the cardiologist Prof. Heribert Schunkert explains the most important points on the study and provides tips on what should be observed.
Hypertension can lead to myocardial infarction and stroke
According to a current communication from the German Heart Foundation, approximately 20 million adults are estimated to live with an excessively high blood pressure. This is an immense health hazard, because it is not or not adequately treated, it significantly increases the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, kidney failure and cardiac insufficiency. The treatment is therefore primarily concerned with the reduction of the value, with a target value of 140 mmHg( millimeters of mercury) so far being generally sought. Last November, however, the so-called "SPRINT" study appeared, according to which the patient's health is better when the blood pressure is adjusted to 120 mmHg. This caused a lot of uncertainty in many patients, as the reduction to 140 is often an enormous challenge.
Damage accumulated in younger people over the years
Is the new 140?And does this apply equally to all patients?"The younger and healthier a high-pressure patient, the closer it should be to 120 mmHg," explains the cardiac specialist in the conversation, which was published by the German Heart Foundation. For in young people the damage to the organs by the hypertension accumulates over the years - which however can be avoided by intensified blood pressure therapy.
"When a young woman or a young man comes to me with a blood pressure of 140, I say: 'There's more in it,'" says Prof. Dr.med. Heribert Schunkert further. Schunkert is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Heart Foundation and is the Medical Director of the German Heart Center in Munich.
Health risks could be significantly reduced
The study showed that a reduction of blood pressure to 120 in the case of suitable persons brings impressive results. The intensified treatment significantly reduced the risk of stroke, heart failure or death due to cardiac arrest. This is also confirmed by Schunkert, "however, such a reduction in blood pressure must always be made dependent on the individual situation of the patient," emphasizes the expert. This is not just about the right medication.
Medications are used for patients more expensive
Instead, by changing the lifestyle through healthy diet, exercise and little salt and alcohol the blood pressure can be 10 mmHgcan be lowered. The treatment can then be intensified with blood pressure.
Intensive Treatment Requires Constant Controls
According to Schunkert, the intensive form of therapy is only possible with highly motivated physicians and patients. The reduction of blood pressure to a lower target value requires very frequent medical checks to avoid serious side effects such as fainting or kidney damage. In elderly patients and persons with concomitant diseases, e.g.of the coronary heart disease must be looked at particularly well here, "so that the blood pressure treatment does not go beyond the target" warns the expert.
Patients who are only able to reach the current target value of
140/90 mmHg with a lot of effort or not at all should not lose their motivation in view of the new study. Instead, it is important that those concerned make the risks clear and have smaller goals: "If it is possible to significantly reduce high blood pressure, e.g.to under 140/90 mmHg, the danger is largely eliminated, "explains the cardiologist. A further reduction brings an improvement, but this is comparatively low."With a significantly lower blood pressure, the patients, although they can not reach the 120 mmHg, are certainly winners of the blood pressure therapy," emphasizes Schunkert.(nr)