Management of hypertension in 2017: targets and therapies

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Approximately one-fourth of the adult population is diagnosed with hypertension, which has been associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality including cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, heart failure and stroke. Early detection and treatment is key and can lead to a significant reduction in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Recent findings

In this review, we discuss the management and treatment strategies in patients with hypertension in the current era. Blood pressure (BP) targets will be reviewed in accordance with the recent literature and current guidelines. There is a controversy about lower BP target in patients with coronary artery disease with some studies showing a J-curve relationship but a recent randomized trial (SPRINT) showing a benefit, albeit with controversy as to how BP was measured in the trial. Nevertheless, lower BP targets come with a price of needing more medication (thus impacting cost and compliance) and increases in medication-related adverse effects. There is a growing recognition that angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers, calcium antagonists or thiazide diuretics can be used a first-line therapy for hypertension. Evidence also supports the use of combination drug therapy as opposed to monotherapy for more synergistic effect on lowering of BP, offsetting side effects and for improved adherence to a drug regimen.

Summary

Overall, we aim to review BP targets and medical therapies for hypertension in the current era, recognizing varying clinical characteristics such as comorbidities and patient-risk profile.

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