Intensive blood pressure control is safe and improves brain and cardiovascular health, according to study results published this week in the journal Circulation.

Nearly 200 participants aged 75 and older followed a strict anti-hypertensive medication treatment regimen for three years. The daily blood pressure target was set at less than 130 mmHg compared to a standard control (approximately 145 mmHg).

Magnetic resonance imaging showed that the accumulation of white matter lesions in the brain were reduced by up to 40% in participants on intensive blood pressure therapy when compared to the control group.

The intensive therapy group also experienced fewer cardiovascular events, including heart attack, stroke and hospitalization from heart failure, reported William B. White, M.D., of the University of Connecticut Medical School.

The results show that a low blood pressure target is not only safe, but potentially more beneficial than standard care for older adults with hypertension, White said.

“Intensive treatment of hypertension reduces the progression of small blood vessel disease in the brain and significantly lowers patients’ risk of nonfatal cardiovascular events,” he concluded.

Aggressive blood pressure control has also been shown to prevent dizziness and falls, and lower the risk of dementia, McKnight’s has reported.