In a recent study, researchers from Intermountain Medical Center find that two types of blood pressure medications — alpha blockers and alpha 2 agonist — show increased variability in blood pressure measurements between doctor visits.
This variability is linked to a higher risk of mortality.
The systolic blood pressure reading (the upper number) indicates how much pressure blood is exerting against the artery walls when the heart beats.
According to the American Heart Association, normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Elevated blood pressure is between 120-129/80, and anything higher than 130/80 is stage 1 and 2 high blood pressure.
Prior research has shown that patients with large variances in blood pressure between doctor visits are at an increased risk of death.
In the current study, the researchers looked for connections between the type of blood pressure medication and the variations in blood pressure readings.
They aimed to examine if certain classes of medications reduced the visit-to-visit blood pressure variability.
More than 10,500 patients with at least seven recorded blood pressure medications between January 2007 and December 2011 were followed for 5 years — through June 2016.
The team tracked the range of variances in blood pressure measurements and the class of blood pressure medication each patient was using.
They found that patients taking medications including ace inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, and thiazide diuretics did not have higher mortality risk.
However, people who are on other types of blood pressure medications have an increased risk of death.
The researchers suggest physicians should use blood pressure medications that show a decrease in mortality risk.
In addition, patients should know what their blood pressure is, and if it’s up and down all the time, the patient should work with their physician to explore options for the best blood pressure medications that will reduce variances.
Where possible, the two types of medications that show an increase in variances should be avoided.
In their next steps, the team will look at other medications that are proven to reduce the variability in blood pressure measurements and better evaluate methods for taking evidence-based blood pressure measurements.
Brian Clements, DO, an internal medicine physician with the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, is the lead author of the study.
The study was presented at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions in Orlando 2018.
Source: Intermountain Medical Center
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