High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a crucial risk factor for heart disease and the leading cause of death in the United States. However, a new study has found out two classes of medication that are generally used to lower blood pressure could offer a death risk all on their own.
At Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, UT, the Scientists found that those with hypertension, who used alpha blockers and alpha-2 agonists to manage their blood pressure, showed a rise in blood pressure variability, which could increase death risk.
Lead study author Dr Brian Clements and the team have lately presented their discovery at the 2018 American College of Cardiology (ACC) Scientific Sessions, in Orlando, FL.
Blood pressure is the force of blood that presses on or pushes against the wall of the arteries. In November last year, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the ACC place new guidelines for blood pressure.
At this time, someone is considered to have hypertension if his/her systolic blood pressure (the top number) is 130 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or higher, and their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) is 80 mmHg or higher.
Systolic blood pressure, or the force of blood against the artery walls as the heart is beating, while diastolic blood pressure is the compel or force of blood when the heart is at rest, or between heartbeats.
The updated guidelines mean that nearly half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, which positions them at greater risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease, among other health issues.
When it comes to treating hypertension, the aim is to lower blood pressure. This may be attained through lifestyle changes. For instance, adopting a healthful diet and increasing physical activity, medication, or both.
For their study, the researchers evaluated the data of over 10,500 adults with high blood pressure.
The participants had their blood pressure calculated at least seven times between January 2007 and December 2011. In addition, the type of blood pressure medication they were consuming was monitored.
The team used this data to assess or find out whether specific categories of blood pressure medication were related to variability in blood pressure levels.
The investigation revealed two different classes of blood pressure medication that were associated with higher blood pressure variability in subjects: alpha blockers and alpha-2 agonists.
Alpha blockers — such as prazosin hydrochloride and doxazosin mesylate— work by dilating the blood vessels. Alpha-2 agonists, for example, methyldopa, work by targeting sympathetic nervous system activity, in this manner reducing blood vessel constriction.
In conclusion to the study results, Dr Clements and colleagues state that these two medications (Alpha blockers and Alpha-2 agonists) should not be used to take care of hypertension.
“Patients should be familiar with what their blood pressure is,” he says, “also if it’s up and down at all time, the patient should talk with their physician to look at options for the best blood pressure medications that will trim down variances.”