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Seattle researchers on Wednesday said results of a new study reinforce government recommendations that people with high blood pressure who need diuretic drugs be given low doses.

The findings of a trial led by Dr. David Siscovick of the University of Washington also indicate the risk of death from heart disease is lower if such patients also are given drugs that conserve pottasium levels in the blood.The results, and those of other recent studies, "support the recommendation to treat hypertension with low doses of a thiazide," a diuretic that helps remove excess water from the body, Siscovick and colleagues reported in The New England Journal of Medicine.

As many as 50 million Americans - one in four adults - have high blood pressure. While some people can be treated through lifestyle changes alone, a recent four-year trial found that even for mild forms of high blood pressure, such changes were most effective when combined with drugs.

Doctors say people with high blood pressure can benefit from losing weight, reducing salt and fat intake and cutting alcohol consumption.