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.’