Targeting blood pressure in people with diabetes mellitus

K. Scott Brimble

Full article

A PDF of the full version of the article, published in Polish Archives of Internal Medicine, can be accessed free of charge here.


Hypertension is a strong risk factor for cardiovascular (CV)-related morbidity and mortality, and its treatment has been shown to be beneficial. Hypertension is common in people with diabetes mellitus, and the combination of these conditions markedly increases CV risk in comparison with individuals with neither condition. Although there is increasing clarity as to blood pressure (BP) targets in numerous conditions, the target in people with diabetes remains unclear, and, as a result, many clinical practice guidelines differ on the optimal BP goal.

The ACCORD (Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes) trial did not demonstrate benefit when systolic BP (SBP) was lowered to less than 120 mm Hg compared with a target of less than 140 mm Hg. This was in contrast to the recent SPRINT trial (Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial), which demonstrated the superiority of a target SBP of less than 120 mm Hg in reducing CV events. However, people with diabetes mellitus were excluded.

Recent meta-analyses have suggested that lowering BP in patients with diabetes mellitus should be reserved for a baseline SBP greater than 140 mm Hg, targeting an SBP of between 130 and 140 mm Hg. Lower targets may reduce the risk of stroke but may also be harmful with respect to other important CV outcomes. The methodological limitations of these meta-analyses highlight the need for a large randomized controlled trial comparing lower and standard BP targets in people with diabetes mellitus.

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