By Dr. Brian McDonough

KYW’s Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There is no doubt that high blood pressure can take a toll on us, especially if it is not controlled.

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We know quite well that people with high blood pressure face a higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and death than patients without high blood pressure, but according to a study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, that risk decreases as we get older.

The researchers analyzed the relationship of systolic blood pressure (the top number) and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) in nearly 340,000 veterans and found that SBP of above 140 mm HG was associated with an elevated risk of all the outcomes that they examined over five years. As people got older the researchers found that there is a delicate balance between treating blood pressure to prevent disease and reducing the risk of side effects that can be linked with medications.

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The scientists say that it is a big mistake to ignore high blood pressure in young people, but we need to closely monitor people as they get older and there should be careful judgement and evaluation with clear lines of communication between doctors and patients.