Dr Stephen Martin and colleagues, who presented their findings at the 2014 Preventing Over-diagnosis Conference at the University of Oxford, argue that this strategy is failing patients and wasting health-care resources.
They call for a re-examination of the threshold and urge clinicians to be cautious about treating low risk patients with blood pressure lowering drugs.
Up to 40 percent of adults worldwide have hypertension, over half of which is classified as ‘mild.’ Low risk indicates that an individual does not have existing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or kidney disease, researchers said.
Over the years, hypertension has been treated with drugs at progressively lower blood pressures. The belief has been that drug treatment of even mildly elevated blood pressure levels in low risk patients may reduce cardiovascular risk.
Over half of people with mild hypertension are treated with medication. Yet treating low risk mildly hypertensive patients with drugs has not been proven to reduce cardiovascular disease or death, researchers said.

The authors argue that overemphasis on drug treatment risks adverse effects, such as increased risk of falls, and misses opportunities to modify individual lifestyle choices and tackle lifestyle factors at a public health level.

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