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"We can't change the guidelines every time something new comes up," said Lars Hjalmar Lindholm of Umea University Hospital in Sweden, who was not linked to the studies. "We should be a bit cautious before we change how patients are treated."
Still, Lindholm called the Lancet studies "a fantastic contribution" to our understanding of blood pressure.
Rothwell said people with variable blood pressure rates shouldn't rush to change their treatment, but should talk to their doctors. "The damaging effect of variable blood pressure takes months and years to develop," he said.
He said patients with consistently high blood pressure should continue to be monitored -- and that some of them with occasionally high rates could benefit from changing their medications.
"I wouldn't want people to think if their blood pressure is stable and high, that isn't a bad thing. They definitely need to be treated," he said. "It's just that the patients we've currently been reassuring, whose blood pressure isn't high all the time, also need to be treated."
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