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Am J Med. 1996 Oct 8;101(4A):4A50S-55S.

Blood pressure control.

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Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.


Numerous studies have shown that effective control of elevated blood pressure has greatly reduced the risk of stroke and, to a lesser extent, the risk of coronary artery disease. Although the relationship between diastolic blood pressure and both stroke and coronary disease is significant, systolic blood pressure correlates more strongly with stroke, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, declining renal function, and left ventricular hypertrophy. Studies have also shown that the presence of a wide pulse pressure (>/=60-70 mm Hg) also has an independent and major impact on coronary disease mortality and is strongly correlated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Because many hypertensives have end-organ damage (cardiac, central nervous system, renal), and the majority also have a comorbid condition such as diabetes and hyperlipidemia, which also increases cardiovascular risk, it is necessary to view the risks and comorbidity of hypertension and antihypertensive therapy in light of these problems. Despite evidence that antihypertensive therapy reduces the risk of stroke and coronary events, and despite the availability of effective agents, roughly half of the hypertensives in the United States remain untreated and only 24% have blood pressure <140 mm Hg systolic and 90 mm Hg diastolic. To ensure that hypertensive patients receive adequate therapy, physicians should treat patients aggressively and appropriately, avoiding antihypertensive drugs that adversely affect comorbid conditions and selecting those that also exert favorable therapeutic effects on these conditions.

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