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Mild hypertension can be treated without drugs

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Mild hypertension

London : For people with mild hypertension, encouraging lifestyle changes should be the first line of recommendations for physicians rather than putting them on drugs, suggest experts.

Lead researcher Stephen Martin and colleagues argue that the current strategy is failing patients and wasting healthcare resources.

“Over-emphasis on drug treatment risks adverse effects such as increased risk of falls and misses opportunities to modify individual lifestyle choices,” they noted.

They called for a re-examination of the threshold and urge clinicians to be cautious about treating low risk patients with blood pressure lowering drugs. Up to 40 percent of adults worldwide have hyper-tension, over half of which is classified as mild.

Low risk indicates that an individual does not have existing cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes or kidney diseases. Over the years, hyper-tension has been treated with drugs at progressively lower blood pressures.

“We urge clinicians to share the uncertainty surrounding drug treatment of mild hypertension with patients, measure blood pressure at home, improve accuracy of clinic measurements and encourage lifestyle changes,” Martin concluded.

They were scheduled to discuss the findings at the 2014 Preventing Overdiagnosis Conference hosted by the Centre for Evidence-based Medicine at the University of Oxford.

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