How long should you take care of your blood pressure? Learn about the importance of long-term hypertension management by reading below.
According to findings from the landmark Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT), intensive blood pressure management lowered the risk of death and reduced cardiovascular disease. Now, a study from Wake Forest University School of Medicine researchers suggests that intensive blood pressure management may only be effective if treatment is continually being followed.
“We wanted to examine the long-term effect of SPRINT’s intensive treatment,” says Nicholas Pajewski, Ph.D., associate professor of biostatistics and data science at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. “The results are disappointing, but not surprising. If you have high blood pressure, controlling it is a lifelong commitment.” Pajewski is also the study’s corresponding author.
The SPRINT trial shows that targeting a systolic blood pressure (SBP) of fewer than 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) reduced the rates of cardiovascular events. In addition, the target also reduced the risk of death by 27 percent as compared to a target SBP of 140 mm Hg. The SPRINT trial was led by David Reboussin, Ph.D., professor of biostatistics and data science at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
The study, which began in 2009, included over 9,300 participants ages 50 and older from the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Participants were randomly assigned an SBP goal of either less than 120 mm Hg (intensive) or less than 140 mm Hg (standard). However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) stopped the blood pressure intervention earlier than planned to rapidly disseminate the significant preliminary results.
For his team’s study, Pajewski and the researchers connected participants to the National Death Index from 2016 to 2020. By doing this, they added 4.5 years of follow-up for mortality after the end of the trial. In addition, they analyzed the electronic health records of the trial participants for outpatient measurements of blood pressure.
“In addition to a diminishing benefit of intensive treatment on cardiovascular mortality, we saw a gradual increase in blood pressure for participants in the intensive treatment group, such that four or five years after the trial, there no longer appeared to be a difference in systolic blood pressure between the groups,” says Pajewski. “The message here is clear. Sustained blood pressure control is necessary to continue to reduce the burden of fatal cardiovascular events.”
Managing Blood Pressure
While the SPRINT trial shows us that intensive blood pressure treatment can be effective, Pajewski’s study shows us that treatment must be continuous for it to work. In other words, a lifelong treatment of the condition is necessary if you want to maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
However, managing your blood pressure doesn’t have to be a pain. You can practice simple everyday habits to boost your health. For example, you can eat a heart-healthy diet, exercise regularly, and take supplements like L-arginine Plus to give your blood pressure extra support. If you want to promote your circulation, blood pressure, cholesterol, and more, then practice healthy habits while taking L-arginine Plus.