Right now, at this very moment, tens of millions of people are worried about their blood pressure for no reason at all.
You might even be one of them.
But now, you may be able to toss those worries aside for good--because a new study finds you can miss just about every mainstream blood pressure target in the book and not face extra heart risk.
Researchers used data on more than 20,000 patients with elevated blood pressure who weren't treated for it, then tracked them to see what sort of heart risks they faced over the years.
Now, it would be impossible to do this study today--most people with even slightly elevated blood pressure end up on meds.
So the researchers used data on 13,792 people who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1971 to 1976, and 6,682 patients who took part in a similar study between 1959 and 1962.
They found that for people under the age of 50, the systolic reading--that's the top number--barely matters at all. It could shoot right up to the moon, all the way to 200, and you'd still have nothing to worry about as long as you had that youth to go along with it.
The diastolic (bottom) number, on the other hand, did help predict risk in the under-50s--but only when it reached 100.
For people over the age of 50, the heart risk started to kick in only at the levels currently considered hypertension--a systolic reading of 140 or higher.
And for everyone at every age, the entire prehypertension category--the markers that now set millions on the path to stress, salt-free diets and blood pressure meds--came with no risk at all.
Of course, none of this should surprise anyone: We keep setting blood pressure targets lower... and heart disease rates keep climbing.
But the dirty little secret is that our health mandates and targets are more political than medical. They're set by "experts" who are bought and paid for by the drug industry.
Each time they lower those targets, like they did in 2003 when they lowered them to 120/80, the drug industry sells more blood pressure pills.
And they might not be done yet: Some of the "experts" have even made noises about lowering targets to 115/75, which would no doubt open up the possibility of drugs to millions of new patients.
Those drugs aren't just unnecessary--the come with plenty of risks of their own.