Medicine is arguably one of the most difficult sciences; not only does it involve chemistry and biology, but also the interaction between both. While some drugs work well for conditions other than those for which they are designed, others do the opposite. For example, after a previous study showed a diabetes drug to prevent cardiovascular incidents, a new study shows that antihypertensives can be dangerous for diabetics.
Diabetics and blood pressure
Generally, diabetes patients also tend to suffer from high blood pressure. It’s a condition that comes with the disease. Because of this, most diabetics are also urged to undergo severe antihypertensive treatments, which are far more intense than those designed for non-diabetics.
However, a new study led by Mattias Brunström from Sweden’s Umeå University revealed that these antihypertensive treatments might in fact do harm to certain group of diabetics. Those with a systolic blood pressure of less than 140 are at a very high risk.
The study was in fact a meta-analysis, meaning that it was basically a review of a large number of other studies. This method can fail at times, but in cases such as this one it is quite accurate. The data used by the researchers consisted of patient records and other previously published studies.
Looking at a total of 73,738 patients over 49 different studies along with the patient records, the researchers analyzed the effects of antihypertensives in people suffering from type 2 diabetes. For this exact reason, the majority of the participants suffered from the condition.
Interestingly, the state of the patients’ blood pressure directly impacted the antihypertensives’ effect on their bodies. For those with a systolic blood pressure higher than 140, the antihypertensives actually served to lower their risk of a cardiovascular accident (stroke or heart attack).
However, for those with a blood pressure of under 140, the results were dire, with the medicine dramatically raising their chances of having a cardiovascular accident. This is very important news, as like I said before, most diabetics take antihypertensives.
Since it was a meta-analysis, only cases of type 2 diabetes were taken under consideration. A whole different study will be needed to see the results for other diabetics.
Correct use of Antihypertensives
First of all, the main lesson we can draw from this study is to always and correctly monitor treatment. Many doctors recommend medicine without really looking into studies such as this, as they are taught what to do in med school.
It is vital to look at a patient’s entire medical history before recommending a particularly powerful medicine, as pretty much anything can lead to serious side effects. But in this case, Brunström says that the Swedish will come up with new guidelines for blood pressure treatments over the next couple of years.
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