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Blood Pressure Drugs May Increase Heart Attack Risk In Diabetes Patients

First Posted: Feb 25, 2016 05:42 PM EST

New findings published in the British Medical Journal suggest that blood pressure medications may increase heart attack risk for diabetes patients.

Researchers in Sweden found that a significant number of diabetic patients with systolic blood pressure lower than 140 before they underwent treatment with anti-hypertensive drugs had a higher chance for heart attack, according to Medicaly Daily

"In practice, it is important to remember that undertreatment of high blood pressure is a bigger problem than overtreatment," Mattias Brunström, a doctoral student at Umeå University, said in a news release. "Many treatment guidelines, both Swedish and international, will be redrawn in the next few years. It has been discussed to recommend even lower blood pressure levels for people with diabetes -- maybe as low as 130. We are hoping that our study, which shows potential risks of such aggressive blood pressure lowering treatment, will come to influence these guidelines."

During the study, researchers reviewed close to 50 trials that included about 70,000 participants--many of whom had type 2 diabetes in order to determine the effects of varying levels of blood pressure treatment. 

For those with systolic pressure above 150, aggressive blood pressure treatment helped lower mortality risk, overall. However, for those with systolic pressure under 140, there was an increased ris of heart attack, a cardiovascular event leading to death and any cause of death, according to UPI

"Our study shows that intensive blood pressure lowering treatment using anti-hypertensive drugs may be harmful for people with diabetes and a systolic blood pressure less than 140 mm Hg," Brunström said. "At the same time, it is important to remember that blood pressure lowering treatment is crucial for the majority of people with diabetes whose blood pressure measures above 140."

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