BP target is no illusion, it needs commitment
I am a little disappointed by Dr Nicholas Down's claim (Letters, October 6) that the achievement of blood pressure of 150/90 is an illusion and dispute that this target is unattainable.
What, I think, he demonstrates is a lack of enthusiasm. A series of readings will give a reasonable mean and treatment is available for those who need it. If carefully followed up, treatment will be successful in most cases. Herein lies the problem not the target, but the commitment.
There are probably 17 million patients in the UK with raised blood pressure and probably half are unidentified.
We know that treatment will improve a patient's life expectancy and that every millimetre matters1. Furthermore we know that to reduce a blood pressure by even a moderate amount will have far-reaching and long-lasting benefits2.
A reduction in mean blood pressure of only
5-6mmHg gives a 40 per cent reduction in stroke and a 25 per cent reduction in CHD. These benefits affect not only the patient but ultimately the NHS budget, both local and national.
I hope Dr Down will persevere because achieving this single performance target will have enormous benefits for his patients.
Dr Peter Tooley
1. Lancet 1998; 351: 1755-62 2. Lancet 1990; 335: 827-38