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Blood pressure and control of cardiovascular risk

Authors Judith A Whitworth

Published 15 October 2005 Volume 2005:1(3) Pages 257—260

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Judith A Whitworth

John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Abstract: Two key early 20th century notions, the first the primacy of diastolic pressure in determining risk, and the second that hypertension is a discrete disorder, have proved to be incorrect. We now recognize the primacy of systolic pressure as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and that hypertension is an arbitrary definition. In the early 21st century, we are moving away from a dichotomous approach to risk classification, and away from notions of hypertension and normotension towards an appreciation that blood pressure-related risk is continuous. In parallel, there has been a paradigm shift from a single risk factor approach to comprehensive cardiovascular disease risk prevention. Accordingly, prevention of cardiovascular disease requires a focus on lowering of blood pressure and modification of associated risk factors rather than simply treatment of hypertension. This emphasis is reflected in the World Health Organization (WHO) – International Society of Hypertension (ISH) 2003 statement on management of hypertension.

Keywords: blood pressure, hypertension, cardiovascular risk, treatment

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