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Researchers Say JNC8 Recs May Put Some Patients at Risk

Team says the treatment threshold is too high for those over 60 years of age

blood pressure cuff

TUESDAY, Feb. 2, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- For people 60 and older, the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC8) in 2014 recommended raising the blood pressure level at which doctors prescribe treatment from 140 to 150 systolic blood pressure. But individuals with systolic blood pressure of 140 to 149 have a 70 percent increased risk of stroke compared to people with lower blood pressure, according to research published online Feb. 1 in Hypertension.

Ralph Sacco, M.D., chair of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues launched their new study in response to the JNC8 recommendations. The research team gathered data on 1,750 participants aged 60 and older in the Northern Manhattan Study; none had diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

During about 13 years of follow-up, 182 people suffered a stroke. The researchers concluded that having a systolic blood pressure of 140 to 149 elevated stroke risk as much as having systolic blood pressure greater than 150. Increased stroke risk was most notable among Hispanics and blacks.

"Our findings support adherence to current American Heart Association treatment guidelines," Sacco told HealthDay. Those guidelines recommend starting medication at 140 systolic or higher.

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