Another Study Raises Questions About Blood Pressure Guidelines

Although the general benefits of lowering high blood pressure are widely accepted, there has been intense debate over specific goals for treatment and the threshold at which therapy should be initiated.  A large new meta-analsysis published in JAMA helps shed lights on this important controversy. UK and Australian researchers analyzed the effect of lowering blood pressure in people…

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FDA Advisory Panel Offers Cautious Support For Polypill

The controversial polypill took one step closer to reaching the US market after receiving a mostly positive reception from the FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee on Wednesday. The idea for the polypill– which in this case would be composed of aspirin, a statin, and one or more blood pressure drugs– has been kicking around for…

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An Old Study Fuels Debate Over Blood Pressure Guidelines

In the last year new guidelines relating to cardiovascular disease have been the subject of intense criticism and debate. The status of the blood pressure guidelines has been particularly contentious, since several different groups have published contradictory guidelines, while several authors of the most prominent group, the Eighth Joint National Committee, published an impassioned dissent…

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New Studies Fuel The Debate Over Sodium

Three papers and an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine are sure to throw fresh fuel on the ongoing fiery debate over sodium recommendations. Current guidelines recommend that people should limit their intake of sodium to 1.5  to 2.4 grams per day, but these recommendations are based on projections and have never been tested in clinical…

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Probiotics May Help Reduce Blood Pressure

As interest in probiotics has grown in recent years, some evidence has emerged that probiotics may favorably reduce blood pressure, but trials have been small and inconsistent. Now a meta-analysis published in Hypertension suggests that the blood-pressure lowering effects of probiotics may be genuine. … Click here to read the full post on Forbes.  …

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FDA Once Again Reaches Conclusions At Odds With Its Own Staff

Once again the FDA has reached a conclusion that is directly opposed by some of its own scientists.  Last month the FDA affirmed the safety of olmesartan, a popular blood pressure lowering drug (sold as Benicar and other names). But that reassuring view is not shared by the  FDA scientists who performed the study that provided…

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Large Study Uncovers New Details About the Role of Hypertension in CVD

Although high blood pressure has long been recognized and studied as a cardiovascular risk factor, a large new study published in the Lancet provides a more detailed, granular view of the specific role of different forms of hypertension. Eleni Rapsomaniki and colleagues in the U.K. analyzed data from 1.25 million people without existing cardiovascular disease age 30 and older. An…

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The Uncertain Future Of A Once Highly Promising Device For Lowering Blood Pressure

Following the spectacular crash and burn of the Symplicity HTN-3 trial at the American College of Cardiology two weeks ago, the future of renal denervation (RDN)– the once highly promising catheter technology that many thought would cure resistant hypertension– appears in doubt. Although the device has not been approved in the US– and will not be approved without…

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Lower Blood Pressure Found In Vegetarians

A new study provides the strongest evidence yet that a vegetarian diet is strongly associated with lower blood pressure. Although various health benefits of a vegetarian diet have often been proposed, a rigorous examination of the effect on blood pressure has not been previously performed. In a paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Japanese researchers analyzed data from…

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Blood Pressure Trajectory Over 25 Years Predicts Atherosclerosis Risk

Everyone knows that blood pressure is one of the most important measurements of cardiovascular risk. Less well known is that most studies of blood pressure have relied on single or isolated measurements of blood pressure. Few studies have even attempted to examine the significance of blood pressure patterns over a long period of time. Now,…

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More Guideline Controversy: Blood Pressure Expert Decries ‘Political Correctness’

Now add “political correctness” to the long list of criticisms directed against the recent publication of new and updated cardiovascular guidelines. One leading hypertension expert writes that the authors of the recent AHA/ACC/CDC Science Advisory on blood pressure control were chosen not for their expertise but for political expediency. … Click here to read the full post on Forbes. Confusion…

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Minority Report: Five Guideline Authors Reject Change In Blood Pressure Goal

Confusion

It didn’t seem possible but the guideline situation just got even more confusing. Last December, after  years of delay and other twists and turns, the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8) hypertension guideline was published in JAMA. The previous guideline recommended that all adults have a target systolic blood pressure below 140 mm Hg. In the new guideline, the target…

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Pivotal Medtronic Trial For ‘Breakthrough’ Blood Pressure Device Goes Down The Tubes

The hypertension community woke up this morning to a large dose of reality with an announcement by Medtronic that the novel SYMPLICITY HTN-3 trial of its much-anticipated  renal denervation device had failed to meet its primary efficacy endpoint. Renal denervation has been widely touted as a breakthrough product that could dramatically lower blood pressure by as much as 30 mm…

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Missing High Blood Pressure Guideline Turns Up In JAMA

After  years of delay and many twists and turns, the hypertension guideline originally commissioned by the NIH has now finally been published in JAMA. The evidence-based document contains a major revision of hypertension treatment targets and includes new and somewhat simplified recommendations for drug treatment. The previous US hypertension guideline was published more than a decade ago….

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Saying Sorry May Not Be Good Enough For Novartis

Novartis has issued a formal apology over misconduct relating to valsartan (Diovan) research in Japan, but that apology does not appear likely to satisfy the Japanese Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, which plans to fully investigate the company’s role in the scandal. If necessary, ministry officials are prepared to raid the company’s offices in Japan. A Novartis…

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Realistic Expectations For New ‘Breakthrough’ Blood Pressure Technology

Early trials of renal denervation, the innovative new catheter-based blood pressure lowering technology,  have resulted in extremely impressive drops in systolic blood pressure in the range of 30 mm Hg. These results have sparked a great deal of excitement in the hypertension community and stirred the interest of a multitude of medical device companies. Some…

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Kaiser Program Yields Big Improvements In Hypertension Control

A large percentage of the 65 million people with high blood pressure in the United States do not know they have hypertension or have not succeeded in controlling their hypertension. Although many programs have been proposed, there is little evidence that any method can produce long term improvement in hypertension control. In a paper published in JAMA,…

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Possible Cognitive Benefits Found In Dementia Patients Taking Centrally Acting ACE Inhibitors

An observational study from Ireland raises the intriguing possibility that certain blood pressure lowering drugs, centrally acting ACE inhibitors, may help slow the cognitive decline that is a hallmark of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The study, published in BMJ Open, followed the rates of cognitive decline in 3 groups of patients: dementia patients being treated…

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New European Hypertension Guidelines Released With Simplified Blood Pressure Target

New hypertension guidelines from the European Society of Hypertension and the European Society of Cardiology were released in Milan today at the European Meeting on Hypertension & Cardiovascular Protection. The authors of the guidelines write that “despite overwhelming evidence that hypertension is a major cardiovascular risk, studies show that many are still unaware of the condition,…

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Promising One Year Results For Renal Denervation In Resistant Hypertension Spark Hype

Denervation of the renal sympathetic nerve may become an important new tool in the fight against resistant hypertension.  Previously, the main results of the Symplicity HTN-2 trial demonstrated that in selected patients renal denervation resulted in a large and highly significant reduction in systolic blood pressure (BP) at six months. Now, longer followup from the trial, published…

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Should Body Weight Influence Choice of Antihypertensive Therapy?

The hypertension field has been troubled by repeated observations that normal weight patients have more cardiovascular (CV) events than obese patients. Now a new analysis of a large hypertension trial confirms this finding but also suggests that it may be explained by either an adverse effect of diuretics or a protective effect of calcium-channel blockers in non-obese…

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