Hypertension is one of the main risk factors for cerebrovascular disease (stroke), coronary artery disease (acute myocardial infarction), congestive heart failure (both systolic and diastolic dysfunction), and renal dysfunction. The risk is related to blood pressure level and to the presence of target organ damage. Together with hypertension, other cardiovascular risk factors, such as hyperlipidemia and/or diabetes, also contribute to the chain of events leading to atherosclerosis, vascular complications and death. Three-quarters of middle-aged, urban population show at least one cardiovascular risk factor and 91.3% of all hypertensives show at least one cardiovascular risk factor in addition to hypertension itself. In most populations, the risk of cardiovascular disease rises steeply with age. This powerful effect of age on disease risk has important consequences for the risk of cardiovascular disease related to blood pressure and other risk factors. At most ages the risk for cardiovascular diseases is higher in men than in women, although this difference declines with increasing age and is greater for coronary heart disease than for stroke; in the United States from age 34 to 74 the risk of death from coronary heart disease is 2- to 3-fold greater in men; the risk of death from stroke is 30% higher in men than in women; after age 75 the risk of death from stroke and from coronary heart disease is similar in men and women. Postmenopausal women share the same risk with men for cardiovascular disease. For many years the study and treatment of hypertension has been largely directed toward diastolic blood pressure; the importance of elevated systolic blood pressure in the management of cardiovascular disease is being largely underrecognized. Convincing evidence is presently available indicating that elevated systolic blood pressure is even a stronger predictor than diastolic blood pressure for progression of cardiovascular disease and adverse outcomes. The clinical and laboratory evaluation and drug treatment of the hypertension is related to age. The elderly benefit from treatment of elevated systolic blood pressure as much or even more than middle-aged hypertensive subjects. Two large clinical trials on treatment of isolated systolic hypertension, the Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly Program (SHEP) and the Systolic Hypertension in Europe Study (Syst-Eur), have demonstrated that antihypertensive drug therapy in elderly patients with isolated systolic hypertension effectively reduces the risk of stroke and other major cardiovascular events.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Italian Heart Journal|
|Volume||1 Suppl 2|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2000|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine