Although previous studies have found that heart disease risk progressively increases as blood pressure rises above 115/75 mm Hg, lowering systolic blood pressure below 120 mm Hg in adults with hypertension did not reduce the rate of myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease, heart failure, and ischemic stroke in an observational study (Rodriguez C et al. JAMA Intern Med. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.2482 [published online June 16, 2014]).
A total of 4480 participants were followed up for 21 years for development of a cardiovascular event. At baseline, nearly three-quarters of the cohort were taking antihypertensive medication, almost one-fifth had diabetes, two-thirds smoked or drank alcohol, and more than 25% had high cholesterol. Systolic blood pressure, measured at baseline and at 3-year intervals, was categorized as elevated (≥140 mm Hg), standard (120-139 mm Hg), and low (<120 mm Hg).