Intense Blood Pressure Goals in Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes patients using intensive blood pressure targets did not reduce heart attack

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) People with diabetes face a higher risk of heart problems. While treating high blood pressure has been shown to protect against these complications, it remains uncertain what blood pressure target is best.

Diabetes patients who used intensive blood pressure targets had a slightly smaller risk of stroke, compared to patients who used normal blood pressure targets.

However, the use of intensive targets did not significantly lower the risk of death or heart attack.

"Control your blood pressure if you have diabetes."

The standard systolic blood pressure target for people with diabetes is a maximum of 140-160 mm Hg. The standard diastolic blood pressure target is a maximum of 85-100 mm Hg.

Systolic blood pressure is the pressure in the vessels as the heart contracts. Diastolic pressure is the blood pressure in between heartbeats, or when the heart rests and refills.

In their recent study, Kerry McBrien, MD, MPH, and colleagues set out to see how intensive blood pressure targets compared to standard targets when it comes to preventing heart problems in diabetes patients.

The intensive target used in the study was a maximum systolic pressure of 130 mm Hg and a maximum diastolic pressure of 80 mm Hg.

Patients who used intensive targets were 0.35 times less likely to have a stroke than those who used the standard targets - a small difference.

Intensive blood pressure targets did not significantly reduce the risk of death or heart attack, compared to standard targets. Patients who used intensive targets were only 0.24 times less likely to die and 0.07 times less likely to have a heart attack, compared to those who used standard targets.

"Although the use of intensive compared with standard blood pressure targets in patients with type 2 diabetes is associated with a small reduction in the risk for stroke, evidence does not show that intensive targets reduce the risk for [death or heart attack]," the authors concluded.

For their study, Dr. McBrien and colleagues looked through electronic databases, bibliographies and clinical trial registries to identify past studies on adults with diabetes comparing different blood pressure targets.

Their research was published in the August 2012 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine

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Review Date: 
August 14, 2012
Last Updated:
August 17, 2012