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GPs may be 'flogging a dead horse' if they try to meet blood pressure targets in obese patients, new research suggests.

Use of multiple antihypertensive drugs was ineffective in controlling hypertension in many obese patients, the study found.

Hypertension was five times more common in obese 16- to 29-year-olds and four times more common in obese 30- to 44-year-olds than in patients of the same age with normal BMIs.

The proportion of patients taking more than one anti-

hypertensive rose steadily from 49 per cent in those with a BMI below 25 to 65 per cent in those with a BMI above 40. Despite this, overweight patients (BMI 25-30) were 20 per cent less likely to achieve blood pressure control (<140 0)="" than="" those="" of="" normal="">

The German researchers, who published their findings on 38,800 patients in the American Journal of Hypertension (October), concluded: 'The striking lack of blood pressure control was even more pronounced in the obese groups with obesity being a significant predictor of poor control, despite the greater use of combination therapy.'

Dr Terry McCormack, deputy-chair of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society and a GP in Whitby, East Yorkshire, said GPs might feel they were 'flogging a dead horse' trying to get patients to lose weight to control their blood pressure.

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