Abstract

Systemic arterial hypertension is the most important modifiable risk factor for all-cause morbidity and mortality worldwide and is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Fewer than half of those with hypertension are aware of their condition, and many others are aware but not treated or inadequately treated, although successful treatment of hypertension reduces the global burden of disease and mortality. The aetiology of hypertension involves the complex interplay of environmental and pathophysiological factors that affect multiple systems, as well as genetic predisposition. The evaluation of patients with hypertension includes accurate standardized blood pressure (BP) measurement, assessment of the patients’ predicted risk of atherosclerotic CVD and evidence of target-organ damage, and detection of secondary causes of hypertension and presence of comorbidities (such as CVD and kidney disease). Lifestyle changes, including dietary modifications and increased physical activity, are effective in lowering BP and preventing hypertension and its CVD sequelae. Pharmacological therapy is very effective in lowering BP and in preventing CVD outcomes in most patients; first-line antihypertensive medications include angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, dihydropyridine calcium-channel blockers and thiazide diuretics.

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Acknowledgements

P.K.W. was supported by P20GM109036 (Tulane COBRE for Clinical and Translational Research in Cardiometabolic Diseases) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Vascular Biology and Hypertension Program, Division of Cardiovascular Disease, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), 1720 2nd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL, 35294–0007, USA.

    • Suzanne Oparil
  2. Athens-Limestone Hospital, Athens, AL, USA.

    • Maria Czarina Acelajado
  3. The University of Chicago Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA.

    • George L. Bakris
  4. Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research, Bedford Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Bedford, MA, USA.

    • Dan R. Berlowitz
  5. Schools of Medicine and Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA.

    • Dan R. Berlowitz
  6. Center for Cardiovascular Prevention, Charles University in Prague, First Faculty of Medicine and Thomayer Hospital, Prague, Czech Republic.

    • Renata Cífková
  7. Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Science, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.

    • Anna F. Dominiczak
  8. Clinica Medica, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy.

    • Guido Grassi
  9. IRCCS Multimedica, Sesto San Giovanni, Milan, Italy.

    • Guido Grassi
  10. Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.

    • Jens Jordan
  11. Imperial Clinical Trials Unit, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK.

    • Neil R. Poulter
  12. The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

    • Anthony Rodgers
  13. Department of Epidemiology, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA.

    • Paul K. Whelton

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Contributions

Introduction (M.C.A. and S.O.); Epidemiology (A.R. and P.K.W.); Mechanisms/pathophysiology (G.L.B. and G.G.); Diagnosis, screening and prevention (A.F.D. and P.K.W.); Management (J.J. and R.C.); Quality of life (D.R.B.); Outlook (N.R.P.); Overview of Primer (S.O.).

Competing interests

S.O. (in the previous 24 months) has received research grant support or reimbursement for travel to meetings or other nonfinancial support from Actelion Clinical Research/George Clinical, AstraZeneca AB, Bayer, Lundbeck, Novartis, Novo Nordisk and ROX Medical, has consulted for Actelion/George Clinical, Lundbeck, Novo Nordisk and ROX Medical and has served as director and/or principal investigator for SPRINT University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Clinical Center Network (CCN) and sub-investigator for the UAB CCN clinical site, for which Takeda and Arbor Pharmaceuticals donated 5% of medication used. G.L.B. served as a consultant for AbbVie, Bayer, Janssen, Merck, Relypsa and Vascular Dynamics, serves or has served as principal investigator for the FIDELIO trial (Bayer) and is a steering committee member for CALM-2-Vascular Dynamics, (CREDENCE)-Janssen and SONAR-AbbVie. G.G. has received lecture fees from Astra Zeneca and Merck. J.J. served as a consultant for Boehringer-Ingelheim, Novartis, Novo-Nordisc, Orexigen, Riemser, Sanofi, Theravance and Vivus and is cofounder of Eternygen GmbH. N.R.P. served as advisory board member (ad hoc) for Medtronic, MSD, Pfizer, Servier and Takeda (companies producing blood pressure-lowering agents and devices), received speaker honoraria from AstraZeneca, Menarini, Napi Labs and Servier, received research funding from Menarini, Pfizer and Servier, and is the president of the International Society of Hypertension. George Health Enterprises, the social enterprise arm of The George Institute for Global Health, has applied for a patent in the area of low-dose combinations on which A.R. is listed as an inventor and has received investment capital to develop fixed-dose combinations containing aspirin, statin and blood pressure-lowering drugs. A.R. is an investigator on grants for several trials of blood pressure-lowering interventions. M.C.A., D.R.B., R.C., A.F.D. and P.K.W. declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Suzanne Oparil.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nrdp.2018.14

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