Health Team

Study targets range for those with diabetes, coronary disease

Posted July 6, 2010 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated July 6, 2010 6:12 p.m. EDT

Real estate agent Stephen Elwood stays busy, even after quadruple heart bypass surgery. He is living with diabetes and high blood pressure. He keeps his blood pressure in check with medication, diet and exercise.

“I feel good. I feel fine. I've learned to cope,” he said.

A large portion of patients with coronary artery disease have diabetes. For them, blood pressure control is a prime goal of their care to treat their diabetes.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association , researchers looked at 6,400 patients from a larger trial involving participants from 14 countries.

The patients were 50 years and older, had diabetes, coronary artery disease and a need for blood pressure medication.

"Patients who were in the category called tight control, defined as a systolic blood pressure of less than 130, actually did poorly,” said Dr. Carl Pepine, of the University of Florida.

Patients in the usual control range -- a systolic pressure between 130 and 140 -- fared better than those in the tight control group.

“They (tight control group) did poorly in that more of them died compared to the patients who had blood pressures in the usual control range,” Pepine said.

The results also showed that patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure, above the 140 mark, had poorer outcomes.

Researchers say that patients with both diabetes and coronary artery disease should maintain a systolic blood pressure between 130 and 139, along with a healthy lifestyle to reduce long-term cardiovascular risk.