How low should blood pressure go?

In September, the National Institute of Health halted the landmark Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) early because the results were clear.

SPRINT randomly assigned more than 9,300 people aged 50 or older with hypertension to take drugs that would lower their systolic blood pressure (the higher number) to either 120 or 140. The average participant needed three drugs to reach the 120 target.

After several years, the researchers found that using 120 as a target cut the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and other cardiovascular events by almost a third, and the risk of death by a quarter, compared to using 140 as a target.

What to do:  Keep your systolic blood pressure at 120 or below using a healthy DASH lower-salt and, if necessary, medication.

Source: Nutrition Action Health Letter November 2015