Scientific evidence currently available supports the concept that renin-angiotensin blockade with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors as a first-line treatment exhibits in arterial hypertension beneficial effects in the prevention of mortality and morbidity comparable to those achieved with diuretics and β-blockers. In addition, the renin-angiotensin blockade has also proved to be beneficial in the secondary prevention of several complications of hypertensive disease such as after myocardial infarction and congestive heart failure, as well as in the prevention of the incidence of type 2 diabetes, and the progression of diabetic and nondiabetic nephropathy. In this later regard, recent evidence with angiotensin II receptor antagonists in reducing the progression of nephropathy in type 2 diabetes strongly confirms that antagonism of the renin-angiotensin system is an effective approach to cardiovascular and renal disease. Finally, the renin-angiotensin blockade in high-risk patients may reduce cardiovascular mortality independently of the effect on blood pressure (BP). The effect of other antihypertensive drugs on cardiovascular risk in patients with high-normal BP should be investigated to establish whether they exhibit a comparable effect or whether there is a class-related benefit of drugs blocking the renin-angiotensin system. Such a strategy could also be encouraged to design future interventional studies with the newer classes of compounds (angiotensin II AT1-receptor antagonists, vasopeptidase inhibitors, endothelin antagonists), which would have the additional potential advantage of providing information more easily transferable to large-scale clinical practice.
- ACE inhibition
- Antihypertensive therapy
- Arterial hypertension
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine