The guidelines which are aimed at UK doctors, are published in summary form in the BMJ today (12 March), and represent best practice in treating UK patients for hypertension.
People with a blood pressure higher than 140/90 (mm Hg) are classified as having high blood pressure or hypertension.
Some 42 per cent of people in the UK aged between 35 and 64 are estimated to have hypertension, which puts them at a greatly increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Basing their guidelines on new data from clinical trials and safety tests of anti-hypertensive drugs, the guidelines say that for the best results in the UK, doctors must aim to get the blood pressure of their patients as low as possible, and for many that means taking a combination of the presently available drugs.
BHS President, Professor Neil Poulter of Imperial College London and St Mary's hospital, Paddington, and co-author of the BMJ paper said:
"We suggest that two-thirds of people with hypertension should be on two drugs not one to get them down to their target blood pressure.
"But we know that 60 per cent of people on treatment for hypertension are receiving just one blood pressure lowering drug, meaning that many people are missing out on what we consider the best standard of treatment in this country.
The guidelines, authored by the Guidelines Committee of the British Hypertension Society, also suggest a simple 'AB/CD protocol' to help doctors combine the different classes of blood pressure lowering drugs to provide the best treatment.
For those under 55, they say start with an ACE Inhibitor (or an Angiotensin receptor blocker) or a Beta blocker, and then if the target lower blood pres
Contact: Tony Stephenson
Imperial College London