morbidity and mortality

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Hypertension is an epidemiologically important condition since it is an aetiological factor in up to 33% of premature death. The most serious diseases associated with hypertension are stroke and coronary artery disease.

Large studies such as the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial point to hypertension as a major risk factor for stroke. About 40% of strokes can be attributed to a systolic blood pressure of more than 140 mm Hg.

There is a linear relationship between log stroke risk and mean diastolic blood pressure. Increasing the blood pressure by five or six mm Hg increases the risk by roughly 35 to 40% over a range of 76 to 105 mm Hg. The same pattern is seen in systolic blood pressure.

A similar relationship exists for coronary artery disease. The gradient is less steep; increasing the blood pressure by five or six mm Hg increases the risk by 20%.

Last reviewed 05/2021