Should we change the target blood pressure in diabetic patients?


*Correspondence to:
Ehud Grossman, Head of Internal Medicine D and Hypertension unit, The Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer 52621, Israel.


Hypertension is a major modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in diabetic patients. Guidelines recommend lowering blood pressure (BP) to less than 130/80 mmHg in diabetic patients. These recommendations are based on several studies in diabetic patients that showed the benefit of intensive BP control. However in all the studies the achieved BP was higher than 130/80 mmHg. Re-evaluation of earlier studies, as well as more recently accumulated data suggest that intensive BP control is associated with a significant reduction in all-cause mortality and stroke rate, but with no benefit for other microvascular or macrovascular (cardiac, renal and retinal) outcomes. Intensive BP control is associated with an increased risk of serious adverse effects, particularly for systolic BPs levels lower than 130 mmHg. When determining the target BP in diabetic patients one should balance the potential cerebrovascular protection against the increased risk of serious side effects, and the absence of benefit for other circulatory system. It seems therefore, that lowering BP to levels close to 130/80 mmHg should be the main goal of treatment in diabetic patients.