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Pathophysiology and causes of severe hypertension 

Pathophysiology and causes of severe hypertension
Pathophysiology and causes of severe hypertension

Jerrold H. Levy

and David Faraoni

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date: 25 June 2022

Hypertension affects multiple groups of patients characterized by different clinical presentations and a spectrum of potential causes. The pathophysiology is complex and multifactorial. Although most patients are labelled ‘essential hypertension’, multiple mechanisms are involved in blood pressure regulation. Factors that influence blood pressure homeostasis include endothelial function, the renin-angiotensin system, and the sympathetic nervous system. In elderly patients, hypertension is common as the vascular system and arterial stiffness also contribute. Other important factors include inflammatory processes as part of systemic diseases, including atherosclerosis,which may contribute to renal and vascular injury. Hypertension is also associated with metabolic disturbances including dyslipidaemia that manifests in obese patients who also have insulin resistance. These different pathways all represent potential targets for treatment, but also increase the challenge of multimodal pathophysiology.

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