Lowering Blood Pressure Target Would Greatly Increase Number of People Diagnosed with Hypertension

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alexander A. Leung, MD, MPHDepartment of Community Health SciencesDepartment of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgary, Alberta, Canada

Dr. Leung

Alexander A. Leung, MD, MPH
Department of Community Health Sciences
Department of Medicine
University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The 2017 American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) blood pressure guidelines redefined hypertension according to a blood pressure cutoff of ≥130/80 mm Hg, compared to the traditional cutoff of ≥140/90 mm Hg.

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Short Naps May Aid in Blood Pressure Control

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Manolis S Kallistratos MD, PhD, FESC,EHSAsklepeion General HospitalGreece

Dr. Kallistratos

Dr Manolis S Kallistratos MD, PhD, FESC,EHS
Asklepeion General Hospital
Greece 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Lifestyle changes represent the cornerstone of treatment of arterial hypertension. Alcohol and salt reduction may decrease blood pressure levels by 2 to 8 mmHg.

In our study 60 minutes of midday sleep decrease 24 hours systolic blood pressure levels by up to 3 mmHg in well controlled hypertensives. That is an effect as potent as other well-established life style changes.

The magnitude of blood pressure decrease might seem small, but a drop in blood pressure as small as 2 mmHg can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by up to 10 percent.  Continue reading

Effects of Morning Exercise With/Without Breaks in Sitting on Blood Pressure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael J. Wheeler  Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Michael J. Wheeler

Michael J. Wheeler
Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We conducted this study because separate lines of inquiry have determined that a bout of exercise can acutely lower blood pressure, and more recently that prolonged sitting can increase blood pressure over the space of a day. We wanted to know whether the blood pressure lowering effects of an exercise bout would be diminished by a subsequent period of prolonged sitting or enhanced by a subsequent period of sitting that is regularly interrupted with short walking breaks.

We found an additive blood pressure lowering effect when exercise was combined with breaks in sitting as opposed to exercise plus prolonged sitting. However, this was only true for women. Men had equal blood pressure lowering effects following exercise regardless of whether-or-not subsequent sitting was interrupted Continue reading

Does Salt Help or Worsen Lightheadedness?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stephen P. Juraschek, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Division of General Medicine, Section for Research Boston, MA  02215

Dr. Juraschek

Stephen P. Juraschek, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Division of General Medicine, Section for Research
Boston, MA  02215

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Lightheadedness with standing is an important risk factor for falls. Sodium is often considered a treatment for lightheadedness with standing.

We examined this in the setting of a monitored feeding study where adults ate each of 3 different sodium levels for 4 weeks at a time. Participants took 5 day breaks between sodium levels and ate the sodium levels in random order. We tested the hypothesis that lowering sodium would worsen how much lightheadedness the study participants reported.

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Blood Pressure Control – Good for Heart, Good for the Brain!

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Jeff Douglas Williamson

Dr. Williamson

Jeff D. Williamson, MD
Geriatric Medicine – Sticht Center
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: A growing amount of epidemiologic research has suggested that higher blood pressure is associated with higher risk for dementia, including Alzheimer’s dementia.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: More than 9,300 ambulatory, community dwelling persons over age 50, 30% of whom were over the age of 75, were randomly assigned to a blood pressure goal of 120 vs 140.  Persons in the 120 group had a 19% lower risk for developing MCI an transitional stage between normal and dementia (P<.008).  There was a 17% lower risk for developing dementia but this only achieved a p value = 0.10.  The combined risk for both MCI and dementia was 15% lower in the 120 group (p<0.04).  The dementia outcome was the primary outcome but all the outcomes were pre-specified in the protocol at the beginning of the trial.  Unfortunately the blood pressure intervention was stopped after only 3.3 years due to CVD and mortality benefit and this may well have influenced the ability to reach the expected number of dementia cases. 

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Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea Linked to Resistant Hypertension in African Americans

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dayna A. Johnson PhD Department of Epidemiology Emory University Atlanta, GA

Dr. Johnson

Dayna A. Johnson PhD
Department of Epidemiology
Emory University
Atlanta, GA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There are several studies that have determined that African Americans have the highest prevalence of hypertension and are the most likely to have uncontrolled hypertension compared to other racial/ethnic groups. We were interested in studying whether sleep apnea contributed to hypertension control among African Americans.

We found that participants with sleep apnea were more likely to have resistant hypertension than those without sleep apnea. In particular, individuals with severe sleep apnea had the highest risk of resistant hypertension. Most of the participants with measured sleep apnea were undiagnosed (96%).  Continue reading

Use of IV Fluids by EMTs Reduced Morality in Septic Patients With Low Blood Pressure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"intravenous" by thorney torkelson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0"> CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</a>Daniel J. Lane PhD
Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation
Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
Rescu, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St Michael’s Hospital
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: Early resuscitation and early antibiotics have become the mainstay treatment for patients with sepsis. The time to initiation of these treatments is thought to be an important factor in patients surviving their disease; however, the independent benefits or harms of intravenous fluid resuscitation, in particular a more aggressive versus more conservative approach to this therapy, remains difficult to evaluate given the concurrent use of these therapies in hospital.

To gain a better understanding of this treatment independent of antibiotic use, we assessed intravenous fluid resuscitation by paramedics on the in-hospital mortality of patients with sepsis. By accounting for the interaction between initial systolic blood pressure and the treatment, we found that earlier resuscitation by paramedics was associated with decreased mortality in patients with low initial blood pressures but not associated with mortality for patients with normal or higher initial blood pressures. 

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Why is Blood Pressure in Women More Sensitive to High Salt Diet?

MedicalResearch.comInterview with:

Eric J. BELIN de Chantemèle, D.Sc.
Associate Professor
Department of Medicine, Cardiology
Augusta University

Eric JBelin de Chantemèle, D.Sc.
Associate Professor
Department of Medicine, Cardiology
Vascular Biology Center
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University

Jessica L Faulkner, PhD
Post-doctoral Fellow
Vascular Biology Center
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University

MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: It is generally accepted in the medical community that women are more salt sensitive than men. By “salt sensitive” we mean that blood pressure increases with increases in salt in the diet.

While we have known for a long time that women are more likely to experience problems with their blood pressure that are associated with the salt that they eat, the reasons why remain largely unknown and, therefore, the best way to treat it is also unknown. With the average American eating roughly twice the salt recommended by the American Heart Association guidelines, the effects of dietary salt on blood pressure are very important. Our latest publication in the journal American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension shows that female mice are more prone to high blood pressure when on a high salt diet than males.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our report begins to shed some light on why women may have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure due to eating too much salt. We recently found that a hormone, termed “aldosterone” is acting inappropriately in females in response to a lot of salt in the diet. In healthy individuals who are not salt sensitive, aldosterone is decreased by salt in the diet and is protective to the blood vessels. However, in female mice it is less likely that aldosterone will be decreased, and this lack of decrease of aldosterone leads to blood vessel damage and high blood pressure in our study.In contrast, our male mice in our study suppressed aldosterone when given a high salt diet, and did not develop blood vessel damage or high blood pressure.We believe this variation in aldosterone production in women may be a reason why they are clinically more likely to have a blood pressure response to high salt diets.

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RAS Inhibitor Linked to Reduced Heart Failure and Mortality After TAVR

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Taku Inohara MD, PhD Duke Clinical Research Institute,  Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina Department of Cardiology  Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan

Dr. Inohara

Taku Inohara MD, PhD
Duke Clinical Research Institute,
Duke University Medical Center,
Durham, North Carolina
Department of Cardiology
Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) has been increasingly used for treating patients with severe aortic stenosis.

Owing to the advancement of TAVR technology, the mortality and heart failure (HF) readmission after TAVR is decreasing over time, but 4.3% experienced readmission due to HF and 23.7% died within 1 year after TAVR. Inhibition of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-Is) or angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) is known to improve clinical outcomes in patients with heart failure, but there remains unknown whether a RAS inhibitor is associated with a reduction in mortality and heart failure readmission after TAVR.

Using the STS/ACC TVT Registry, a nationwide TAVR Registry in the US, we analyzed 15896 propensity-matched patients who underwent TAVR and found that receiving a prescription for a RAS inhibitor at discharge, compared with no prescription, was associated with a reduced risk for mortality ( 12.5% vs 14.9%) and HF readmission (12.0% vs 13.8%).

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Data Support National Guidelines for ARNI Therapy in Eligible Patients with Heart Failure with Reduced Ejection Fraction

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Pratyaksh K. Srivastava, MD
Division of General Internal Medicine, UCLA
Gregg C. Fonarow, MD
Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center
UCLA  Medical Center, Los Angeles
Associate Editor, JAMA Cardiology

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? 

Response: Angiotensin Receptor-Neprilysin Inhibitors represent a novel class of heart failure therapeutics that have been shown to significantly improve mortality among patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF).

In the Prospective Comparison of Angiotensin Receptor-Neprilysin Inhibitor (ARNI) with Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitor (ACEI) to Determine Impact on Global Mortality and Morbidity in Heart Failure (PARADIGM-HF) trial, sacubitril-valsartan was associated with a 20% relative risk reduction in the primary outcome of death from cardiovascular causes or first hospitalization for worsening heart failure over a median follow up of 27 months.

In our current study, we present long term (5-year) absolute risk reductions associated with the addition of angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibition to standard HFrEF background therapy using data from PARADIGM-HF. We utilize the number needed to treat (NNT) to quantify absolute risk reduction, and ultimately compare 5-year NNT values for sacubitril-valsartan to those of well-established HFrEF therapeutics for the outcome of all-cause mortality.

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Millions of Cardiovascular Events Preventable If New Lower Blood Pressure Guidelines Adopted

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Adam Bress, Pharm.D Department of Population Health Sciences School of Medicine University of Utah

Dr. Bress

Adam Bress, Pharm.D
Department of Population Health Sciences
School of Medicine
University of Utah

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

o   The background here is that the new 2017 ACC/AHA BP guidelines lowered the threshold for antihypertensive medication initiation and intensification from <140 mmHg in most patients to <130 mm Hg.

o   We used contemporary, population-based studies of US adults to estimate the potential population health impact of achieving and maintaining the lower treatment targets recommended in the 2017 ACC/AHA BP guidelines compared to previous guidelines.

o   We found that achieving and maintain the lower thresholds recommended in the 2017 ACC/AHA BP guidelines over 10 years would:

  • Prevent 3.0 million CVD events compared to currently blood pressure and treatment levels
  • Prevent 0.5 million more events compared to achieving and maintain JNC7 goals
  • Prevent 1.4 million more events compared to achieving and maintain JNC7 goals

o   We estimated the size of the population health impact of achieving and maintaining the lower blood pressure treatment targets in the 2017 ACC/AHA BP guidelines compared to previous guidelines.

  • Achieving and maintaining the lower blood pressure thresholds for antihypertensive medication initiation and titration by the 2017 guidelines, are projected to prevent ~20% and ~90% more CVD events over ten years compared to achieving and maintaining JNC7 or JNC8 goals respectively.

o   Although we estimated more adverse events with the lower treatment goal, what our analysis found is that the benefits of achieving and maintaining the 2017 high blood pressure treatment recommendations far outweighs the risks. Many adverse events from high blood pressure treatment can be managed medically – and the lower threshold for treatment could potentially help millions of Americans lower their chances of developing heart disease or dying from heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events, Continue reading

Young Adults with Hypertension at Higher Risk of Stroke and Heart Failure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Yuichiro Yano MD PhD Assistant Professor in Community and Family Medicine Duke University

Dr. Yano

Yuichiro Yano MD PhD
Assistant Professor in Community and Family Medicine
Duke University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: New blood pressure guidelines, issued in 2017 in the US, lowered the blood pressure thresholds for hypertension from systolic blood pressure/diastolic ≥140/90 mm Hg to systolic/diastolic ≥130/80 mm Hg. This change increased the prevalence of hypertension two- to three-fold among young adults. The guidelines also newly defined elevated blood pressure as, 120-129 mmHg systolic blood pressure over 80 mmHg diastolic or less. However, no study investigated that high blood pressure, as defined by the new criteria, is something that younger people should be concerned about as a potential precursor to serious problems.

Our study is among the first to report that people younger than age 40 who have elevated blood pressure or hypertension are at increased risk of heart failure, strokes and blood vessel blockages as they age. Continue reading

Stage 1 Hypertension Associated With Higher Cardiovascular Risk Among Young Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

"Blood Pressure Monitor" by Medisave UK is licensed under CC BY 2.0Seulggie Choi MD, (one of the co-first authors)
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Seoul National University Graduate School
Seoul, South Korea

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In 2017, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA) issued a new High Blood Pressure Management Guideline, in which the definition of hypertension was modified as blood pressure of 130/80 mmHg or higher. This new criteria for hypertension was based on a number of previous studies that demonstrated higher cardiovascular disease risk for participants in the systolic blood pressure of 130-139 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure of 80-89 mmHg range, which is now defined as stage 1 hypertension. However, there is a relative lack of evidence on whether this association of higher cardiovascular disease risk among those within the stage 1 hypertension category according to the 2017 ACC/AHA guidelines is also true among young adults aged 20-39 years.

Our study consisted of about 2.4 million young men and women aged 20-39 years from the Korean National Health Insurance Service claims database. Compared to those with normal blood pressure, young adults with stage 1 hypertension had higher risk for cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and total stroke for both men and women. Moreover, among those who were prescribed anti-hypertensive medications within the next 5 years since blood pressure measurement, young adults with stage 1 hypertension had their higher cardiovascular disease risk attenuated to that of normal blood pressure participants.

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Real-World Dosing of RAASi are Associated With Risk of Adverse Events in CKD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lei Qin

Lei Qin

Lei Qin MS
Director, Health Economics and Payer Analytics
AstraZeneca

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors (RAASi) are guideline-recommended therapies for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), but are commonly prescribed at suboptimal doses, which has been associated with worsening clinical outcomes. The objective of our study was to estimate the real-world associations between RAASi dose and adverse clinical outcomes in patients prescribed RAASi therapies with new-onset CKD in the UK.

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Benefits of Treating Mild Hypertension Not Clear Cut

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

James Sheppard PhD Population Health Scientist  Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences

Dr. Sheppard

James Sheppard PhD
Population Health Scientist
Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: The best quality evidence for making clinical decisions comes from clinical trials. Unfortunately there are occasions where trials have not been done, or are not possible and so we rely of ‘expert opinion’ from clinical guidelines. Treatment for low risk mild hypertension is an example of this.

In our study, we looked at the medical records of more than 38,000 patients over a period of 15 years. The patients we studied were aged between 18 and 74, had mild hypertension and had not received any previous treatment. We compared patients who went on to be treated to those who were not, and found no evidence of benefit (in terms of reduced risk of heart attack or stroke), but there was an increased risk of adverse events (such as hypotension [low blood pressure], fainting or kidney damage) over the follow-up period of 5-6 years. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The benefits of treating patients with low risk mild hypertension are not clear cut. It is possible that some patients may suffer more harm than good, so doctors should be cautious when considering treatment in this population.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: It is likely that some patients with low risk mild hypertension would benefit from treatment, whilst others would not. Future research should focus on understanding which patients have the most to gain, using the wealth of information we now collect about our patients every single day.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: This study was not a clinical trial and therefore the results must be interpreted with caution. Observational studies such as this can sometimes give biased or unreliable results.

This work was funded by the Medical Research Council in the UK. I have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Citation: 

Shepard, J. P., Stevens, S., Stevens, R., Martin, U., Mant, J. W., Hobbs, R., & McManus, R. J. Benefits and harms of antihypertensive treatment for low risk mild hypertension: a real world, matched cohort study of over 38,000 adults. JAMA Internal Medicine https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.27445

Nov 1, 2018 @ 12:27 pm

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Home Blood Pressure Readings of 130/80 Has Same Cardiovascular Risks as Office Readings

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Wanpen Vongpatanasin, M.D. Professor of Medicine Norman & Audrey Kaplan Chair in Hypertension Fredric L. Coe Professorship in Nephrolithiasis and Mineral Metabolism Research Director, Hypertension Section, Cardiology Division, UT Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, TX 75390-8586

Dr. Wanpen Vongpatanasin, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
Program Director, Hypertension Fellowship Program
UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The new US hypertension guideline places a greater emphasis on out-of-office blood pressure measurement, and maintains that a clinic BP of 130/80 mm Hg is equivalent to the same reading for home BP monitoring or daytime ambulatory BP monitoring. That is based, however, on data from non-US cohorts, primarily from Japanese cohorts and some European populations. None has been studied in the US population until now.

To find out, we analyzed large multi-ethnic studies of primarily young and middle-aged adults in Dallas, Texas, and Durham, N.C., that compared home blood pressure to clinic measurements, using the regression correlation (i.e. regression approach). To confirm the findings, we use another approach called “outcome approach” by determining risks of stroke, MI, and death associated with a clinic systolic blood pressure reading of 130 mmHg from the 3,132 participants in the Dallas study during an 11-year follow up.

Then, we determined the home blood pressure levels that carried the same heart disease risk and stroke risk as the clinic systolic 130 mm Hg reading.

We found that the level of home blood pressure of 130/80 mm Hg actually best correlates with blood pressure taken at the doctor’s office of 130/80 mmHg. This is true for whites, blacks and Hispanic patients in both treated and untreated population.  Continue reading

Low Level Lead Exposure Linked to Resistant Hypertension

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sung Kyun Park Sc.D. M.P.H. Associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health sciences University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michiga

Dr. Park

Sung Kyun Park Sc.D. M.P.H.
Associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health sciences
University of Michigan School of Public Health
Ann Arbor, Michigan

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: It is poorly understood that why some patients need more drugs to control high blood pressure than others. Resistant hypertension is that blood pressure is not controlled with 3 medications of different classes including diuretics or is required 4 or more medications of different classes for blood pressure controls. Genes, obesity, physical inactivity, high salt diet, pain medications may do something. Lead is a widespread environmental toxin that can influence high blood pressure. In this study, we examined whether long-term exposure to lead, measured as bone lead, is associated with the risk of resistant hypertension.

Bone lead offers a better method over blood lead measurement to discern long-term lead exposure and accumulation.

The main finding of our study is that low-level lead exposure, measured in the tibia (hard bone), is associated with higher risk of development of resistant hypertension in a cohort of patients diagnosed with hypertension.  Continue reading

Blood Pressure Hard to Control? Maybe its Your Teeth

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Still from "My Dental Hell(th)"" by littledropofpoison is licensed under CC BY 2.0Rita Del Pinto, MD
University of L’Aquila
Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences,
L’Aquila – Italy 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There is a wealth of literature in support of a role for inflammation behind cardiovascular risk factors and diseases. One relatively poorly explored field is that of oral diseases, namely periodontitis, as a potential source of low-grade, chronic inflammation. Previous studies had described a beneficial effect of periodontal treatment on blood pressure; we extended current knowledge with our findings on over 3600 treated hypertensive adults with and without periodontitis, showing a significant benefit over systolic blood pressure behavior and control in the presence of a good periodontal health.  Continue reading

Biomarkers Suggest Intensive Blood Pressure Treatment Does Not Cause True Kidney Damage in CKD Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael G. Shlipak, MD, MPH Scientific Director , Kidney Health Research Collaborative (khrc.ucsf.edu/) Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology & Biostatistics University of California, San Francisco Associate Chief of Medicine for Research Development San Francisco VA Medical Center

Dr. Shlipak

Michael G. Shlipak, MD, MPH
Scientific Director , Kidney Health Research Collaborative (khrc.ucsf.edu)
Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology & Biostatistics
University of California, San Francisco
Associate Chief of Medicine for Research Development
San Francisco VA Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

  • Our study represents major advancements in our understanding of whether kidney tissue damage accompanies the diagnosis of chronic kidney disease during hypertension therapy.
  • The Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) was a landmark clinical trial that demonstrated that more intensive systolic blood pressure management (target <120 mmHg) reduced rates of major cardiovascular events and mortality compared with standard therapy (<140 mmHg). A recent announcement indicated that the lower systolic blood pressure target also slowed the rate of cognitive decline and dementia incidence.
  • The major concern with intensive blood pressure lowering in SPRINT is the 3-fold incidence of chronic kidney disease, as defined using the clinical standard of serum creatinine levels. This detrimental impact on the kidney was surprising because hypertension is a predominant risk factor for kidney disease, and hypertension therapy should reduce CKD risk.
  • Given the lower blood pressure targets in the recently-updated national hypertension guidelines, there has been substantial concern that guideline implementation of blood pressure targets could cause an epidemic of CKD and the attendant suffering from its downstream consequences of cardiovascular disease, heart failure, and kidney failure.
  • In our study, we compared SPRINT participants who developed CKD with matched controls, using a panel of validated urinary biomarkers of kidney damage. These urine tests can measure actual kidney damage, rather than relying on the creatinine which is an indirect reflection of the kidney’s filtering function.
  • In the group undergoing intensive blood pressure lowering in SPRINT, we found that the new cases of CKD had an overall lowering of the kidney damage biomarkers compared with the controls, contrary to what would have been expected if they were developing “real” CKD.
  • In contrast, the new CKD cases that developed in the standard treatment group did have overall elevations in the urinary biomarkers of kidney damage; 5 of the 9 biomarkers significantly increased relative to the CKD cases in the intensive treatment group. 

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Black-White Hypertension Divide: Is The Southern Diet a Culprit?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. George Howard DPH, for the research team Professor and Chair of Biostatistics University of Alabama at Birmingham

Dr. Howard

Dr. George Howard DPH, for the research team
Professor and Chair of Biostatistics
University of Alabama at Birmingham

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Perhaps the most important distinction to draw for the readers is that this is not a paper about risk factors for hypertension, but rather a paper that looks for contributors to the black-white difference in the presence of hypertension.  This racial difference in hypertension is the single biggest contributor to the immense disparities in cardiovascular diseases (stroke, MI, etc.) that underpin the approximate 4-year difference in black-white life expectancy.  As such, this work is “going back upstream” to understand the causes that lead to blacks having a higher prevalence of hypertension than whites with hopes that changing this difference will lead to reductions in the black-white disparities in cardiovascular diseases and life expectancy.   This difference in the prevalence of hypertension is immense … in our national study of people over age 45, about 50% of whites have hypertension compared to about 70% of blacks … that is HUGE.   We think that changing this difference is (at least one of) the “holy grail” of disparities research.

This study demonstrates that there are several “targets” where changes could be made to reduce the black-white difference in hypertension, and thereby the black-white difference in cardiovascular diseases and life expectancy; however, the most “potent” of these appears to be diet changes.   Even though we know what foods promote a heart healthy lifestyle, we still have major differences in terms of how that message is being adopted by various groups of Americans.  We can’t know from our data what about the Southern diet is driving these racial differences in hypertension but we can begin to design community based interventions that could possibly help to reduce these racial disparities through diet.  It is interested that diet more than being overweight was the biggest contributor to the racial disparities in hypertension.  This would suggest we might want to consider interventions to increase health foods in the diet while minimizing fried foods and processed meats.

While this is not a clinical trial that “proves” that changes in diet will reduce the disparity in blood pressure, we consider the “message” of the paper to be good news, as the things that we found that contribute to this black-white difference are things that can be changed.   While it is always hard for individual people to change their diet, it can be done.   More importantly, over time we as a society have been changing what we eat … but we need to “double down” and try to change this faster.   Also, policy changes of play a role to gently make changes in these diet, where for example Great Britain has been making policy changes to slowly remove salt from the diet.   These changes are possible … and as such, we may see a day when the black-white differences in hypertension (and thereby CVD and death) may be reduced. 

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Low Birth Weight Associated With More Diabetes and Hypertension in Adulthood

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Chinese baby laying on a bed” by simpleinsomnia is licensed under CC BY 2.0Wanghong Xu, MD, PhD

Professor of Epidemiology
School of Public Health
Fudan University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) hypothesis proposes that cardiovascular diseases and other chronic conditions in adulthood may be a consequence of an unfavorable intrauterine life, a relationship that is further modified by patterns of postnatal growth, environment, and lifestyle.

Based on the two large-scale cohort studies, the Shanghai Women’s Health Study and the Shanghai Men’s Health Study, we observed nonlinear associations for birth weight with baseline body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR), and low birth weight was linked with lower BMI, smaller WC, but larger WHR and WHtR.

An excess risk of T2DM and hypertension was observed for low birth weight (<2500 g) versus birth weight of 2500-3499 g since baseline and since birth. The results support the DoHad hypothesis, and indicate the importance of nutrition in early life on health in Chinese population.  Continue reading

Triple Low Dose Combination Pill May Lower Blood Pressure With Fewer Side Effects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Ruth Webster PhD, BMedSc(hons), MBBS(hons), MIPH(hons) Head, Research Programs, Office of the Chief Scientist Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine UNSW Sydney

Dr. Webster

Dr Ruth Webster PhD, BMedSc(hons), MBBS(hons), MIPH(hons)
Head, Research Programs, Office of the Chief Scientist
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine
UNSW Sydney
The George Institute for Global Health
Australia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: We know from previous research that 80% of the blood pressure lowering efficacy of any medication occurs in the first half of the dose whilst most side effects occur at higher doses. We also know that most people will require at least 2 blood pressure lowering medications to reach their target blood pressure and that combining multiple pills into one combination medication helps patients take their medication more reliably. There was therefore good evidence to believe that using three half strength doses in one pill would be better than usual care in helping patients to achieve their blood pressure targets.

We showed that, compared with patients receiving usual care, a significantly higher proportion of patients receiving the Triple Pill achieved their target blood pressure of 140/90 or less (with lower targets of 130/80 for patients with diabetes or chronic kidney disease).

It’s estimated more than a billion people globally suffer from high blood pressure with the vast majority having poorly controlled blood pressure. Our results could help millions of people globally reduce their blood pressure and reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke.

Continue reading

Women With History of Preeclampsia or Gestational Hypertension Have Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jennifer J. Stuart, ScD Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Reproductive & Cardiovascular Epidemiology  Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  Division of Women's Health Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Dr. Stuart

Jennifer J. Stuart, ScD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Reproductive & Cardiovascular Epidemiology
Department of Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Division of Women’s Health
Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Preeclampsia and gestational hypertension are common pregnancy complications involving high blood pressure that develops for the first time during pregnancy and returns to normal after delivery. Approximately 10 to 15% of all women who have given birth have a history of either preeclampsia or gestational hypertension. Previous studies have shown that women with a history of high blood pressure in pregnancy are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease events like heart attack and stroke later in life when compared to women with normal blood pressure in pregnancy. However, what is less clear is to what extent these women are more likely to develop chronic hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol and when these risk factors begin to emerge after pregnancy.

We examined this question in a cohort of nearly 60,000 American women who we were able to follow for up to 50 years after their first pregnancy. Previous studies have been limited by small numbers, short follow-up, or a lack of information on shared risk factors, such as pre-pregnancy body mass index, smoking, and family history. This research was conducted within the Nurses’ Health Study II, which collected data on these pre-pregnancy factors in tens of thousands of women over several decades.

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Accurate Measurements Suggest High Salt Intake Leads To Higher Death Rate

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Salt-Sodium
Dr. Feng J He PhD
Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine,
Barts and The London School of Medicine & Dentistry,
Queen Mary University of London,
London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Studies have shown that there is a strong linear relationship between sodium intake and blood pressure and raised blood pressure is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide.

The current mean population sodium intake among adults in most countries is approximately 4,000 mg/d (10 g/d salt). The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended a 30% reduction in sodium intake by 2025 with an eventual target of less than 2,000 mg/d (5 g/d salt) for all countries. Several recent cohort studies have challenged the WHO’s recommendations, as these studies suggested that there was a J or U-shaped relationship between sodium and risk, i.e. lower and higher sodium intake both were associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events and deaths.

However, these studies have several severe methodological problems, one of which is the use of a biased or unreliable estimate of individual’s usual sodium intake, e.g. a single spot urine with the Kawasaki formula.

Our study, for the first time, has compared the relationship of sodium intake and mortality, based on various methods to assess usual sodium intake, including estimates based on the Kawasaki formula (single and average of multiple days) and a single measured 24-hour urine, with the gold standard method, i.e. the average of multiple non-consecutive measured 24-h urines.

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Midlife Hypertension Increases Risk of Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Blood pressure monitor reading 120/80 copyright American Heart Association

Blood pressure monitor reading 120/80
copyright American Heart Association

Professor Archana Singh-Manoux, PhD, HDR Epidemiology
Research Director (DR1), INSERM
Honorary Professor, University College London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Although there have been previous studies that have linked raised blood pressure in midlife to an increased risk of dementia in later life, the term ‘midlife’ has been poorly defined and ranged from 35 to 68 years.

New findings from the long-running Whitehall II study of over 10,000 civil servants has found 50-year-olds who had blood pressure that was higher than normal but still below the threshold commonly used when deciding to treat the condition, were at increased risk of developing dementia in later life.  Continue reading