What’s going on at the frontiers of blood pressure research at the moment? What are the most pressing questions that we need to answer?
In the UK, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) publishes key research recommendations to highlight questions which it feels need to take priority for research. This is the current list:
Blood pressure monitors and AF
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common heart rhythm abnormality which confuses many home blood pressure monitors. NICE recommended that research was needed to find out which monitors can be used to give an accurate blood pressure reading in people who have AF.
People under 40 years old
We need to learn a lot more about young people with high blood pressure. Research was recommended to determine the best way to assess the lifetime risk from high blood pressure in a young person. Then to work out what level of blood pressure should lead to treatment in a young person. Then to look at how treatment improves that risk. In other words, almost everything about blood pressure in young people!
Monitoring blood pressure away from clinics
There is some evidence that using home or ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (instead of visiting a clinic) can improve peoples’ response to blood pressure treatment. This would be great news and help people take back control of their blood pressure. More research was recommended to look into this.
What is the optimal systolic blood pressure?
This one’s a bit embarrassing. It really is that simple. In people who are treated for high blood pressure, what is the optimal systolic blood pressure? You’d think we’d be sure of that by now…
The best step 4 treatment
We have lots of data to guide us regarding which medication is most beneficial for treating high blood pressure. But only up to a point. Many people need more than one medication to control their blood pressure. Once someone is taking three medications, although we have several choices of medication to add as a fourth, we aren’t clear which one is the best choice.
So, there you have the current list of hot questions in the world of high blood pressure. Do any of these affect you? What do you think is missing from the list? Leave us a comment or get in touch on our Facebook group Blood Pressure Questions Answered.