Population strategies to treat hypertension

Research paper by Daniel T. Lackland

Indexed on: 01 Aug '05Published on: 01 Aug '05Published in: Current Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine


The risks of cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral artery disease, and end-stage renal disease are linearly related to systolic blood pressure. As the population ages and the prevalence of high blood pressure increases, the implementation of population-based strategies will be essential to reduce the burden of hypertension-related diseases. Reduction and control of elevated blood pressure can effectively slow the progression of end-stage renal disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, and cardiovascular disease. The strategies for population-based hypertension control are implemented through an increased awareness of the newest guidelines. In the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure, the strategies include lifestyle modification and antihypertensive medication. Although specific blood pressure levels determine antihypertensive medications, lifestyle modifications are advised for all segments of the population and for all blood pressure levels. In particular, lifestyle modification is the recommended intervention for the “prehypertension” category and is encouraged for individuals with normal blood pressure. Also, strategies for lifestyle modifications are part of the treatment strategies for stage 1 and stage 2 hypertension categories in conjunction with antihypertensive medications. The major lifestyle modifications to reduce and manage blood pressure include weight management, incorporation of specific diet plans, dietary sodium reduction, physical activity, and moderation of alcoholic consumption. The implementation and commitment to these strategies can effectively and significantly reduce blood pressure levels, and subsequent hypertension-related disease risks in the population.