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Essential hypertension: Definition, epidemiology, and pathophysiology 

Essential hypertension: Definition, epidemiology, and pathophysiology
Essential hypertension: Definition, epidemiology, and pathophysiology

Bryan Williams

, and John D. Firth

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date: 25 February 2021

‘Essential hypertension’ is high blood pressure for which there is no clearly defined aetiology. From a practical perspective, it is best defined as that level of blood pressure at which treatment to lower blood pressure results in significant clinical benefit—a level which will vary from patient to patient depending on their absolute cardiovascular risk.

Historically, most guidelines define ‘hypertension’ as an office blood pressure greater than or equal to 140/90 mm Hg, but some recent recommendations prefer home or ambulatory blood pressure (blood pressure) averages. When using 24 h ambulatory blood pressure or home blood pressure averages to define hypertension, the diagnostic thresholds are lower than those used with office measurement, with a value of 135/85 mm Hg typically used for both daytime ambulatory blood pressure and home measurements.

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