Whether you have high blood pressure, or normal blood pressure, it is important
to realise that the higher your blood pressure, whatever it is, the higher your
risk of heart disease or stroke.
The medicines help to reduce your blood pressure, before you get "high blood pressure".
The heart pumps blood around the body. It pumps blood that is low in oxygen to the lungs where it becomes oxygenated. Your blood pressure shows how hard your blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it travels around your body. When you have your blood pressure measured it is written like this: 120/80mmHg. The first number is the systolic pressure and the second is the diastolic pressure.
A healthy blood pressure is a level of 120/80 or less, but the lower you can get it the better.Blood Pressure Foundation
High blood pressure ... is a major risk factor for developing a serious cardiovascular disease, such as a stroke, or heart disease.National Health Service (NHS Direct)
If you have high blood pressure, your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body which, over time, can weaken it. Also, the increased pressure can damage the walls of your arteries, which can either result in a blockage, or cause the artery to split (haemorrhage). Both of these situations can cause a stroke.
Whether or not you have high blood pressure it is important to realise that the higher your blood pressure, whatever it is, the higher your risk of heart disease or stroke. This means that all of us should be trying to lower our blood pressure whether we have high blood pressure or not.
As you can see from the two graphs above, the risk of ischaemic heart disease (IHD) is continuously reduced with the lowering of blood pressure. The risk of IHD is nearly halved with a reduction of 10mmHg, and the risk of stroke is more than halved.
|Half standard dose||Reduction in diastolic blood pressure||Reduction in IHD||Reduction in Stroke|
This table shows how much your diastolic blood pressure is reduced if you take a half standard dose of either 1, 2 or 3 different drugs. The result is a greater reduction in blood pressure when taking 3 drugs than when taking 1 or 2. There are only 4 commonly used classes of blood pressure reducing drugs. The incremental benefit declines with adding the fourth drug and the side-effects become a greater problem.
Therefore our preventive medication contains only 3 different blood pressure reducing drugs at low doses to achieve a significant reduction in blood pressure.
Above you can see that if you are 60, the preventive medication provided as part of the Polypill Prevention Programme can reduce your blood pressure to levels typical of a 20 year old.