Essential hypertension



Publication Details

Arnolda, L. F., Llewellyn-Smith, I. J. & Minson, J. B. (1997). Essential hypertension. Current Therapeutics, 38 (12), 43-47.


Hypertension is no more than an elevated arterial pressure and essential hypertension the term applied to those in whom elevated arterial pressure cannot be ascribed to a specific cause. The view that essential hypertension is a specific disease has been abandoned in favour of the proposition that blood pressure is a quantitative trait that is continuously distributed in the population in much the same way that height is.[1] Thus, there is no natural point of separation of people into dichotomous groups with high or low blood pressure.[1] Life insurance tables describing the link between arterial pressure and mortality show a continuous relationship that extends well into the normal range[2] and the same is true for stroke, which is very strongly correlated with the level of blood pressure.[3] A pragmatic solution is to classify as hypertensive those in whom treatment has been shown to be beneficial in reducing morbidity and mortality.

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