Blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol lowering for prevention of strokes and cognitive decline
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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: It is well established by a large number of randomized controlled trials that lowering blood pressure (BP) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) by drugs are powerful means to reduce stroke incidence, but the optimal BP and LDL-C levels to be achieved are largely uncertain. Concerning BP targets, two hypotheses are being confronted: first, the lower the BP, the better the treatment outcome, and second, the hypothesis that too low BP values are accompanied by a lower benefit and even higher risk. It is also unknown whether BP lowering and LDL-C lowering have additive beneficial effects for the primary and secondary prevention of stroke, and whether these treatments can prevent cognitive decline after stroke. RESULTS: A review of existing data from randomized controlled trials confirms that solid evidence on optimal BP and LDL-C targets is missing, possible interactions between BP and LDL-C lowering treatments have never been directly investigated, and evidence in favour of a beneficial effect of BP or LDL-C lowering on cognitive decline is, at best, very weak. CONCLUSION: A new, large randomized controlled trial is needed to determine the optimal level of BP and LDL-C for the prevention of recurrent stroke and cognitive decline.
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