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Study: Fast Blood-Pressure Treatment Matters

Treating high blood pressure quickly can make a big difference in people's future health, a new study finds. Researchers looked at medical records of about 88,000 high blood pressure patients. They found that people benefited most from intense treatment when systolic blood pressure was at least 150 millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Once blood pressure reached this level, doctors needed to begin intensive drug treatment within about 6 weeks. If they waited longer, people faced an increased risk of heart attack, stroke or early death, the study found. Systolic blood pressure is the higher of the 2 numbers in a blood pressure reading. A level between 140 and 159 is considered to be Stage 1 high blood pressure. Some people may be getting drug treatment at a level below 150. Doctors can make treatment more intense by increasing the dose or adding a second drug.

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