Most of the study volunteers were taking blood pressure medications known as beta blockers or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, two commonly used classes of drugs for lowering blood pressure.
The researchers found that people taking blood pressure medications had a 23 percent reduced risk of stroke, a 29 percent reduced risk of congestive heart failure and a 15 percent reduction in the risk of a combination of cardiovascular events. In addition, the risk of cardiovascular mortality was reduced by 17 percent, and the risk of all-cause mortality dropped by 13 percent in those taking these medications compared to those who weren't on the drugs.
Thompson said the researchers don't know exactly how blood pressure medications lowered the risk of cardiovascular events, because this wasn't a study designed to look at the mechanism behind the effect.
He and the other researchers reported no conflicts of interest.
Dr. Mario Garcia, chief of cardiology at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said the findings were "not surprising or unexpected. These drugs all have beneficial effects beyond lowering blood pressure. These drugs have already been shown to prevent events in patients with heart attacks or heart failure."
Dr. Hector Ventura, director of cardiomyopathy and heart transplantation at the Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, said, "This study is kind of novel because they looked at people treated with blood pressure medications without hypertension. And, even in people without so-called hypertension, there might be a benefit from these medications," he said.
But, he said, there are still a lot of unanswered que
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