Saturday, May 21, 2005

New Definition of Hypertension (Beyond Blood Pressure)

New proposed guidelines from the American Society of Hypertension define the disease as more than elevated blood pressure.

SAN FRANCISCO, May 15, 2005 -- Leading US hypertension experts unveiled a new definition of hypertension at the American Society of Hypertension Inc. (ASH) Twentieth Annual Scientific Meeting. The group has expanded the definition of hypertension beyond the numbers obtained from a blood pressure reading, and instead, urge that blood pressure be viewed as a part of a patient's overall risk for cardiovascular disease. The goal of the new definition of hypertension is to improve the way physicians conceptualize, diagnose and treat hypertension by encouraging them to think about the disease earlier than they commonly do now, with the ultimate goal of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease linked to high blood pressure, such as heart attack and stroke...

The new definition of hypertension, developed by the Writing Group of the American Society of Hypertension (WG-ASH) characterizes the disease as a progressive cardiovascular syndrome with many causes that result in both functional and structural changes to the heart and vascular system. The authors of the new definition write that the early stages of hypertension can begin before an individual develops sustained elevated blood pressure, and can progress to damage in the heart, kidneys, brain, vasculature and other organs, often leading to premature morbidity and death. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the US, followed by cancer and stroke, according to 2001 data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...

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