University of LeicesterThis news may concern older people with high blood pressure who have the probability of getting a heart stroke in the near future. A research which was conducted at the University of Leicester claimed that it may have exposed the cause why beta-blockers are apparently less effective at averting a stroke in older people with high blood pressure as opposed to other drugs for high blood pressure. This research was performed by Bryan Williams, Professor of Medicine at the University of Leicester, and his colleague Dr. Peter Lacy.

This research shows that beta-blockers which lower the heart rate of older people can supposedly have a potentially harmful effect on central aortic pressures. These are pressures in the large arteries close to the heart.

Professor Bryan Williams, professor of Medicine at the University of Leicester commented “Such findings can help define the template for optimal treatment strategies and highlight why new methods to estimate central aortic pressures are providing new insights into the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease and how new drugs can be tailored to limit the damage. Leicester is acknowledged as one of the leading centers in the world in this field of research.”

In people with high blood pressure, analysis of the pulse wave measured at the wrist to approximate pressures in the large artery near the heart were apparently used for the research. It shows that decreasing heart rate in older people with high blood pressure can supposedly lead to a higher than anticipated pressure in the large arteries.

This may be the cause as to why an extensively used drug like beta-blockers which is used to treat high blood pressure is supposedly less effective than other treatments at averting strokes. In 2006, NICE suggested that Beta-blockers should apparently be no longer used as a regular treatment for high blood pressure as they appear to be fairly less effective than other types of blood pressure lowering drugs at decreasing the threat of stroke, particularly in older people.

Professor Williams, who is also a consultant physician with the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, proposed that apparently valuable insights into the mechanism are being supplied by the research.

Professor William commented “There is no doubt that by better understanding of how modern drugs work in reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease, we will be able to continually refine treatments for the future.”

Then the question that lingered was if patients should stop taking beta-blockers.

But Professor Williams emphasized “No they should definitely not stop them. Beta-blockers are prescribed for a number of medical conditions, including angina and heart disease and in this context they are very beneficial.”

He further added that the new study is specifically exploring the reasons why beta-blockers or other drugs that lower heart rate may be less effective at preventing stroke than some of the other drugs we use to lower blood pressure.

This research was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.