Several studies have unequivocally shown that the target-organ damage associated with the hypertensive condition is more closely related to 24 h average blood pressure values than to clinic blood pressure. Blood pressure, however, is highly variable over the daytime and night-time period, and of major interest is whether average 24 h blood pressure values, as well as 24 h blood pressure variability, correlate with, and are possibly responsible for, the hypertension-related alterations of the target-organ structure and function. This paper will address this issue by discussing the main features of blood pressure variability in hypertension. It will also examine the mechanisms involved in this phenomenon, with particular emphasis on the pathogenetic role of sympathetic neural factors. The clinical relevance of blood pressure variability in promoting target-organ damage, as well as its therapeutic implications, will finally be highlighted.
- Antihypertensive treatment
- Blood pressure variability
- Centrally acting antihypertensive drugs
- Sympathetic nervous system
- Target-organ damage
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine