The goal of treating hypertension in patients with diabetes is reduction of macrovascular and microvascular complications. Most current guidelines recommend more aggressive treatment goals with blood pressure (BP) targets of < 130/80 mmHg. Retrospective data analyses suggest an association between a lower BP and slower declines in chronic kidney disease (CKD) as well as greater cardiovascular (CV) risk reduction in patients with type 2 diabetes. Such recommendations, however, are not supported by appropriately powered prospective outcome trials. Indeed, several important questions regarding aggressive lowering of BP levels are still unanswered. Major limitations of most existing clinical trials of BP lowering in diabetes is the failure to either target or achieve mean systolic BP values below 130 mmHg. Data from more recent randomized trials that evaluated different levels of BP do not support a BP below 130/80 mmHg as providing further CV risk reduction and compared to levels below 140/90 mmHg. One consistent benefit of a lower BP level, however, is on reduction of cerebrovascular events. There is reasonable evidence that a lower BP level does further slow progression of advanced proteinuric kidney disease such that a BP goal < 130/80 mmHg is defensible. This review examines the data for and against aggressive BP lowering in patients with diabetes.
Keywords: Diabetes mellitus, blood pressure, aggressive treatment, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular risk, hypertension, myocardial infarction, impaired fasting glucose, hazard ratio, atherosclerosis
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