In April 2019, Leyden Academy researchers Frank Schalkwijk and David van Bodegom published a Letter to the Editor in the high-impact journal JAMA Cardiology, in response to a study that showed that the gradual increase of blood pressure with age is inappropriately considered a normal characteristic of ageing. Schalkwijk and Van Bodegom argue that the finding that in Western populations the increase of blood pressure starts at early ages indicates that entire Western populations are at high risk for hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Nevertheless, in current high-risk strategies that prevail in medical practice, we wait until an individual exceeds a certain cutoff point to consider them to be at risk. This strategy has been proven effective, but for further reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease, treating high-risk individuals even more intensively might not be the most fruitful strategy. Therefore, health care professionals should focus more on the population level societal determinants of a healthy lifestyle in addition to prevailing prevention policies that primarily rely on high-risk strategies.
News articles 2019