The American Medical Association has endorsed a proposal to regulate blood pressure, but some doctors fear the move could put patients at risk of a serious cardiac event.
The AMA says it’s important to avoid overindulging in blood pressure medications, which have been linked to heart attacks, strokes and even deaths.
In fact, the AMA says the most common form of blood pressure control is “lowering” blood pressure by a small amount, or lowering the level of sodium in the blood.
“We know that a high sodium level in the body leads to a lower blood pressure and that can result in a stroke, a heart attack, or even death,” said Dr. Robert B. Vartanian, chairman of the AMA’s board of directors.
The AMA does support lowering blood pressure medication levels, but not for the same reason as doctors do. “
But the AMA has not decided whether it would accept any regulations on this issue, and I am not aware of any evidence to suggest that such a regulation would be effective in reducing the risk of stroke or other serious cardiovascular events.”
The AMA does support lowering blood pressure medication levels, but not for the same reason as doctors do.
Instead, it wants to lower the amount of sodium that can be in the bloodstream.
The FDA has already approved lowering blood sodium to about 20 milligrams per liter, the recommended limit for healthy adults.
But lowering sodium levels to that level can lead to an increase in blood vessel pressure and other dangerous conditions, said Dr., David M. Pritchard, director of cardiovascular and metabolic disease research at Vanderbilt University.
“If we are lowering sodium, we are going to have a higher risk of an arrhythmia or a heart failure because of that sodium increase,” he said.
“And this can lead not only to stroke but also to other complications.”
While the AMA supports lowering sodium level, the CDC has already issued guidelines that advise doctors not to use medications that are designed to lower blood volume, such as ACE inhibitors or beta blockers.
And while ACE inhibitors, beta blockers and other medication to lower sodium levels have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of hypertension, they haven’t been approved for use as medications for lowering blood volume.
So far, doctors have only been given limited information about how to use these medications to reduce blood pressure.
“Doctors are advised to talk to their patients about the possible side effects of taking ACE inhibitors,” said Vartanan.
“Patients should be informed of all the possible risks and benefits of taking them.”
For now, the American Medical Group (AMA), the American College of Cardiology, the Mayo Clinic, the Society for Cardiology and the American Heart Association have all issued similar recommendations.
But some doctors are worried that lowering the sodium level could lead to unintended consequences for patients.
“There is a concern that the AMA will adopt the recommendation of the FDA and recommend that we should lower sodium in a way that increases the risk for heart attacks and other adverse cardiac events, as well as potentially lowering blood flow,” said Pritick.
But Vartania said that lowering sodium would not be a good idea because it’s unlikely to prevent all heart attacks.
“People are taking medications to treat hypertension, so lowering sodium may actually be going to increase blood pressure,” he noted.
“The AMA has taken a very conservative position, which is not what most doctors are recommending.”
Dr. David F. Kastle, a professor of medicine at Yale University and the chair of the Cardiovascular Medicine Division at the University of Texas Medical Branch, said lowering sodium isn’t necessarily the best approach to lowering blood pressures.
“I think lowering sodium is not necessarily the answer because if you’re trying to lower your blood pressure you may be doing the opposite,” he explained.
“You may be making the same thing worse.”
But even if the AMA does adopt the recommendations of the American Cardiology Society, the group is still going to recommend that people with hypertension take medication that lowers their sodium levels.
And because the FDA hasn’t yet approved lowering sodium to this level, doctors are going the opposite direction.
“One of the most significant challenges we face as a society is that we have very high rates of hypertension and we have high rates [of] cardiovascular disease,” said F. Patrick Stoll, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health.
But many of the doctors who oppose lowering sodium say it’s the right thing to do. “
Lowering sodium would only worsen the situation and we should be looking at ways to reduce that risk,” he added.
But many of the doctors who oppose lowering sodium say it’s the right thing to do.
“At least we know that the sodium lowering that’s being proposed is the safest way to do it,” said Kastles co-author.
“Sodium lowers blood pressure in patients with normal blood pressure so there is no reason to think that lowering it could harm the heart.”
He added that it is