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Early detection and management of the high-risk patient with elevated blood pressure

Authors Sierra C, de la Sierra A

Published 11 April 2008 Volume 2008:4(2) Pages 289—296


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Cristina Sierra, Alejandro de la Sierra

Hypertension Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Clinic. University of Barcelona, Spain

Abstract: Severe or important blood pressure elevations are associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, a significant proportion of myocardial infarctions and strokes occur in subjects with only slight elevations or even with normal blood pressure. Both the coexistence of other cardiovascular risk factors, such as diabetes or dyslipidemia, or those recently recognized, such as elevations of C-reactive protein or abdominal obesity and metabolic syndrome, or the presence of target organ damage, such as microalbuminuria, left ventricular hypertrophy, mild renal dysfunction or increased intima-media thickness, all indicate the existence of a high cardiovascular risk in mild hypertensives or in subjects with normal or high-normal blood pressure. Unfortunately, these high-risk patients are often not recognized and thus under-treated. The 2003 European Societies of Hypertension and Cardiology guidelines emphasize the importance of a complete risk assessment and stratifi cation in subjects at all blood pressure categories. The search for other cardiovascular risk factors and target organ damage should be encouraged. Identification of these high-risk patients may allow an earlier indication for antihypertensive treatment and for correction of all cardiovascular risk factors. The objective would be to impair the progression or to induce the regression of silent vascular damage before a clinical event develops.

Keywords: essential hypertension, target organ damage, cardiovascular risk

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