Overhaul blood pressure treatment: experts

A group of international researchers – including those from the George Institute in Sydney – analysed data from 11 trials involving more than 50,000 people.

They concluded that cardiovascular events, including stroke, heart attack, heart failure and cardiovascular death, would be reduced if clinicians changed the way they decide when to commence blood pressure lowering medications.

There are 4.6 million Australians with hypertension.

Present guidelines focus on managing a blood pressure based on repeated measurements of 140/90mmHg or above.

But the study, published in The Lancet, recommends GPs use risk assessment – and not only the blood pressure level – to decide on who to treat, taking into consideration age, sex, cholesterol levels, smoking status and past medical history.

Professor Bruce Neal, lead researcher on the project from the George Institute, said someone with "normal" blood pressure