For people with high blood pressure, fluctuating readings are a warning sign that you might need to change medication. New research presented today at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session pointed out that two types of high blood pressure medications which are heavily prescribed to people — alpha-blockers and alpha-2 agonists — are associated with blood pressure variability. And these fluctuations are linked to an increased risk of death.
The researchers from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Utah are encouraging physicians to prescribe other blood pressure medications to decrease mortality risk for their patients. “The less variation in your blood pressure as you visit your doctor’s office over time means you will do better long term,” Dr. Brian A. Clements, the lead researcher, told Healthline. Over 10,500 people who had at least seven blood pressure readings participated in this study. The participants were enrolled between 2007 and 2011 and were followed for at least five years, through June 2016. The researchers recorded both blood pressure variation as well as the blood pressure medication used by each participant.
Dr. Clyde Yancy, chief of cardiology in the department of medicine at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, said the findings of the study may reflect an “absence” of medication’s efficacy rather than “a true signal of harm.”