Bianca Castro

Blood Test May Help Determine Who Really Needs Blood Pressure Medication

Recent guidelines lowered the threshold of what's considered a healthy blood pressure number

People have high blood pressure now more than ever, thanks to recent guidelines that lower the threshold of what's considered healthy blood pressure numbers.

However, for seemingly healthy people who are now considered to have hypertension, deciding whether to start medication can be tough.  

Preventive cardiology researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center believe that a new blood test for protein biomarkers could identify these individuals. 

Their new study, now published in the medical journal "Circulation," pooled patient data totaling nearly 13,000 people from three major patient populations, including multiple ethnicities.

The team asked whether measuring levels of two biomarkers, proteins in the blood, would identify people in need of treatment.

The researchers found that approximately one-third of adults with mild hypertension, for whom treatment is not currently recommended, have slight elevations of one of the two biomarkers. 

These individuals were more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or congestive heart failure over the next 10 years. 

"If they're on the fence of whether or not they want to treat their blood pressure, maybe a test like this can help make that decision, and if it is a little abnormal, then we want to be more aggressive in treatment to help lower that risk," said preventive cardiologist Dr. Parag Joshi, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern.

You can read more about the study here.

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