The consequences of delaying effective hypertension treatment for up to a year were small—a two-day reduction in quality-adjusted life expectancy—according to a study by University of Chicago researchers published online for the Journal of General Internal Medicine. But as the delay gets longer, the damages multiply. A ten-year delay decreased life expectancy by almost five months.
"For newly diagnosed patients, this means we have time," said study author Neda Laiteerapong, MD, instructor of medicine at the University of Chicago. "Most patients would prefer to control their blood pressure through diet and exercise rather than with medications, and it can take months to learn how to change old habits and master new skills. Our results indicate that it's OK to spend from six months to a year, perhaps even longer, to make the difficult lifestyle changes that are necessary and will pay off in the long run."
High blood pressure is especially damaging for people with diabetes, raising their risk of stroke, coronary artery disease, kidney failure, vision loss and amputations. Both the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the National Institutes of Health recommend a lower blood pressure target for patients with diabetes than for the general public, urging them to keep their pressures below 130/80 mmHg.
Two out of three adults with diabetes, however, never reach that goal. Many patients are hampered by limited access to health care. Others are delayed by what the authors call "clinical inertia," a disinclination by patients to implement lifestyle changes or reluctance by their doctors to push additional medications. Among those who are prescribed blood pressure drugs, at least 20 percent of patients with diabetes do not stick to their treatments.
Until now, the implications of these delays on patients' health had not been quantified. Laiteerapong and colleagues built computer models using published data to determine the magnitude of harm caused by different delays in controlling blood pressure in patients from 50-59 years of age with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. The damage caused by a one-year delay "may be small," they concluded but delays of ten years or more were comparable to smoking in patients with cardiovascular disease.
Given time to learn how, many patients would prefer to control blood pressure through diet and exercise rather than with antihypertensive medications. Most guidelines, however, including those of the ADA, recommend at most a three-month trial of medication-free lifestyle therapy for patients with moderately elevated blood pressure. They call for immediate initiation of medication for those with blood pressure more than 10mmHg above the goal.
That is often not enough time for patients to learn the methods, develop good habits and demonstrate improvements.
"We ask patients with diabetes to do a billion things," Laiteerapong said, "to test their blood sugars, to count carbohydrates, to spend 30 minutes a day doing exercise, including cardio and weight training. Most, if not all, of this is new to them. They need time to adapt. It's important to do this right, but our results say it's not that important to do it so fast."
This study argues that caregivers should work with patients to help them gain the knowledge and develop the necessary skills gradually rather than rushing to drug treatment, especially if their blood pressure is only mildly elevated. It suggests that patients and providers "have more time," the authors write, "at least up to one year, to focus on diabetes self-management and lifestyle modification."
"Among middle-aged adults with diabetes, the harms of a one-year delay in managing blood pressure may be small," the authors conclude. "Health care providers may wish to focus on diabetes management alone in the first year after diagnosis, to help patients establish effective self-management and lifestyle modification. However, after the first year, it is clear that achieving and maintaining tight blood pressure control among US middle-aged adults with diabetes has the potential to generate substantial population-level health benefits."
The National Institutes of Health funded this study. Additional authors include Priya John, David Meltzer and Elbert Huang, all of the University of Chicago.
John Easton | EurekAlert!
Using fragment-based approaches to discover new antibiotics
21.06.2018 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)
Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.06.2018 | Life Sciences