Hypertension: which aspects of hypertension should we impact on and how?

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Cardiovascular complications may, to a large extent, be prevented by lowering blood pressure in hypertensive patients. International recommendations currently stress the importance of reaching values of below 140/90 mmHg in each patient or even lower in the case of concomitant diabetes or renal impairment. It is currently considered crucial to control the systolic pressure as well as the diastolic pressure, in particular because the relationship between cardiovascular risk and blood pressure is closer for the systolic than the diastolic value. An increase in systolic pressure is in itself a sign of the stiffening of the arterial tree. In most patients, the target pressure may only be reached by combining several different antihypertensive agents. In the STRATHE Study, a greater antihypertensive efficacy, in particular on systolic pressure, was obtained by instituting treatment with a fixed low-dose combination of an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (perindopril) and a diuretic (indapamide), in comparison with other therapeutic strategies based on single-agent therapy. Fixed-dose antihypertensive combinations have now become a validated option for initiating antihypertensive treatment.

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