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'Blood pressure drugs for everyone over 55' urged

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Drugs to lower blood pressure should be taken by everyone aged 55 or over, says a report in the British Medical Journal.

According to Professor Malcolm Law, this would save lives and promote good health by lowering the risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

The findings follow a review of 150 studies, and point out the benefits of lowering systolic blood pressure by 10mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure by 5mm Hg.

This would reduce heart failure by a quarter and stroke by a third. Systolic is the pressure exerted when the heart beats while pumping blood, and diastolic is the pressure when the heart is at rest.

Says Professor Law: ‘Beyond a certain age, we’re saying everyone would benefit from taking drugs that lower blood pressure. In developing countries, there are not people with high blood pressure and people with low blood pressure.

‘Beyond a certain age, we all have high blood pressure and we would all benefit from lowering it. What we call “normal” blood pressure is actually high, and what we call high blood pressure is actually higher.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • As a 50 year old nurse I find this blanket prescribing worrying as I am rapidly approaching the age at which I might be forced into taking polypills that may be unnecessary. My blood pressure varies between 110/60 and 100/60. I have never smoked and often go weeks without drinking any alcohol. I eat sensibly and take almost daily active exercise, lead an outdoor life and walk up the 5 floors to my office at lease 3 times a day without mishap. I would hate to be told that I should take pills which could give me side effects and lower my already low blood pressure. I hope that there will be some sort of assessment of risk and need for this rather than one size fits all. Physiologically we are all different. I would rather have lifestyle changes inflicted on me than synthetic pills. Anyone else out there agree?

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