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J Am Soc Hypertens. 2008 Jul-Aug;2(4):239-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jash.2007.12.002. Epub 2008 Jun 2.

Treating hypertension while protecting the vulnerable islet in the cardiometabolic syndrome.

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Departments of Internal Medicine, Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism, and Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease Research Center, School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Columbia, Health Sciences Center, Columbia, Missouri, USA.


Hypertension, a multifactorial-polygenic disease, interacts with multiple environmental stressors and results in functional and structural changes in numerous end organs, including the cardiovascular system. This can result in coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, congestive heart failure, end-stage renal disease, insulin resistance, and damage to the pancreatic islet. Hypertension is the most important modifiable risk factor for major health problems encountered in clinical practice. Whereas hypertension was once thought to be a medical condition based on discrete blood pressure readings, a new concept has emerged defining hypertension as part of a complex and progressive metabolic and cardiovascular disease, an important part of a cardiometabolic syndrome. The central role of insulin resistance, oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, metabolic signaling defects within tissues, and the role of enhanced tissue renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system activity as it relates to hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus are emphasized. Additionally, this review focuses on the effect of hypertension on functional and structural changes associated with the vulnerable pancreatic islet. Various classes of antihypertensive drugs are reviewed, especially their roles in delaying or preventing damage to the vulnerable pancreatic islet, and thus delaying the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

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