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The ACCORD Blood Pressure Study: The J-point realized?
Much has been written over the years of a so-called J-point in blood pressure management; that point above which BP is too high and below which BP is too low (if one is arriving there by antihypertensive medications). The late breaking ACCORD BP Study, published online in the New England Journal of Medicine, casts doubt on the benefit of aggressively lowering systolic blood pressure towards 120 mmHg in patients with type 2 diabetes.
However, while much will be written on these very results, I want to issue a cautionary note that this trial not be interpreted as 'strict blood pressure management is unimportant'. Quite the contrary; tight blood pressure control is likely more important that tight glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes, but there is a limit to this effect. The ACCORD BP study should be interpreted as nothing more than the demonstration of a J-point in blood pressure management, a finding that actually support current published guidelines in patients with diabetes to target a BP below 130 rather than an even stricter threshold (NB: 130 as a target has not been firmly established by randomized trial data). We now understand however, that 'below' is not a bottomless term and that a range of 120 to 130 is likely appropriate.