LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -Managing your blood pressure is important, no matter your age. Do you know what a healthy blood pressure is for you?
Getting your blood pressure checked is often the first thing that happens when you step into your doctor's office. But did you know managing blood pressure in medicine has been a controversial topic for decades?
"Some doctors say get the blood pressure as low as you can get it. Other doctors say you don't have to get the blood pressure down so much. They use to say 100 plus your age is what your blood pressure should be. That's means if you are 60 years old, yours would be 160 and that is absolutely wrong," said Dr. Richard Brittingham, a Comanche County Memorial Hospital internist.
Dr. Brittingham says over the past several decades, groups of doctors have gotten together to try and decide the best way to manage blood pressure. For almost two years, they have decided to go by the guideline known as JNC 8. According to JNC 8, a blood pressure of 140 to 150 systolic would be considered okay. But a new trial known as the SPRINT Trial, which is short for systolic blood pressure intervention trial, those numbers are too high. The SPRINT Trial involved around 10,000 patients.
"Half of those patients were treated with two medications to a systolic blood pressure of 140. The other half were treated to a systolic blood pressure of 120 more aggressively with up to three medications," Dr. Brittingham explained.
The SPRINT Trial was intended to last five years, but Dr. Brittingham says their findings caused them to cancel the trial early.
"More people in 120 systolic group were doing well. People in the 140 systolic group had a much higher incidence of early cardiac death and all-cause mortality," Dr. Brittingham said.
Dr. Brittingham says the results of the SPRINT Trial mean that in many cases doctors are better off treating patients more aggressively to a systolic blood pressure of 120 rather than the 140 goal. He says patients in the 120 systolic group had one-third less heart attacks and deaths from cardiovascular mortality, which he says is very significant.
"Right now, the goal has been 140 systolic according to JNC 7, and even 150 for patients who are over 60 according to the JNC 8, and now we are realizing that we should be treating people much more aggressively than we are," Dr. Brittingham said.
He says some lifestyle modifications will help control your blood pressure are regulating your salt intake, exercising regularly, controlling stress, getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water.
Feb. 5 is National Wear Red Day. So make sure to wear red to show your support for women with heart disease.
In other health news, Comanche County Memorial Hospital will host a weight loss options luncheon on Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 11:30 a.m. in the Oakwood Conference Center. The cost is $5 and includes a healthy lunch. The guest speaker will be bariatric surgeon Dr. Michael Sawyer. He will be discussing innovative weight loss options. For more information and to make a reservation, call 580-585-5406.
Make sure to mark your calendar for the Healthy Heart screenings that will be held on Feb. 29 and March 1 from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Oakwood Conference Center. The screening is $20 and includes A1C, good, bad and total cholesterol, triglycerides and heart risk assessment. To make an appointment, call 580-585-5406.