Health Advice



Keep your risk down by keeping your pressure down

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

The greatest sprinters of all time are Usain Bolt (100 meters: 9.58 seconds in Berlin, 2009) and Carl Lewis (100 meters: 9.86 in Tokyo, 1991).

The SPRINT trial has some impressive numbers, too. It shows that if you intensively lower your blood pressure to 120/80 or below, you substantially reduce your risk for dementia, heart attack and stroke, heart failure, and a roster of cardiovascular disorders, when compared to aiming for a systolic (top) number of 140 or less.

But ... there's always a but ... you have to stay on an intensive regimen and keep your numbers low to maintain those benefits. Researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine examined the long-term results of the SPRINT trial's intensive blood pressure reduction. They concluded that while the intensive blood pressure control group saw measurable health benefits during the multiyear study, once it ended and folks went back to their everyday habits -- voila -- the benefits faded. The participants who formerly practiced intensive blood pressure management ended up with a systolic pressure with mean reading of 140 -- just like the study's control group.

As I point out in "The Great Age Reboot," there are many shortcuts to living younger longer, but you have to do them. For example, a colonoscopy can reduce your risk of colon cancer morbidity or death, but you actually have to get a colonoscopy. Same with avoiding a stroke by lowering your blood pressure; you actually have to achieve and maintain a lower blood pressure. I know you can do it!



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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