Cardiologists play a central role in managing hypertensive patients, although recent surveys reveal a marked discrepancy between cardiologists' appreciation of their patients' risk status and the measures taken to reduce that risk. The diagnosis and the management of hypertension, in fact, must be viewed today not in isolation, but as part of a patients' global cardiovascular (CV) risk, resulting from the concomitant presence of a variety of risk factors, organ damage (left ventricular hypertrophy, carotid or peripheral atherosclerosis, microalbuminuria or impaired glomerular filtration rate), and hypertension-related clinical conditions. The choice of timing and the intensity of antihypertensive treatment should be based on blood pressure (BP)-lowering efficacy and the propensity to favourably impact patient's individual absolute CV disease risk profile. As part of this paradigm shift in CV disease prevention strategy, cardiologists can take several key steps to help improve standards of hypertension control: (i) increase the awareness of total risk management; (ii) initiate an integrated manage-ment strategy tailored to the individual patient's global CV risk (e.g. hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes, age, smoking and gender); (iii) use any elevation in BP as a gateway to begin total risk management and (iv) utilise combination therapies (particularly fixed-dose combinations) to achieve more rapid and persistent BP control and improve patient compliance/persistence with therapy. To help improve standards of hypertension control in the cardiology setting, this review examines the concept of treating hypertension using a global risk assessment approach and proposes effective hypertensive therapy as part of global risk management in patients typically seen in cardiology practice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas