Treating prehypertension: medically sound and economically viable.
The 7th Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure provided new guide-lines for the definition and management of hypertension. Notably, a new category-"prehypertension"-was created for intermediate systolic pressures exceeding 120 mmHg, the upper limit of normal, but less than 139 mmHg, the threshold for stage 1 hypertension. The therapeutic consequences of this new classification are not yet clear, but research indicates that prehypertension is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular, cognitive, and renal morbidities as well as diabetes, and statistical data indicate that prehypertension is present in over 30% of US, European, and Asian adults. However, while pharmacotherapy is recommended for hypertension, the use of drugs to control prehypertension is under question. Given the serious health consequences linked with prehypertension, such debates seem misplaced if patient well-being is our priority. While acknowledging the lack of specific randomized controlled trial data on this topic, we suggest that anti-hypertensive therapy be recommended for everyone with prehypertension and address resulting cost-benefit issues.
Kiely, AE; Kwatra, SG; Kwatra, MM
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