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August 26, 1950


Author Affiliations

New York

From the Cardiographic Department of the Mount Sinai Hospital and the Statistical Bureau, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

JAMA. 1950;143(17):1464-1470. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910520006004

Hypertension is a common diagnosis in medical practice and is usually considered to bear a serious connotation. Arterial hypertension has been described as the most common and important of all types of heart diseases.1 Yet the levels which constitute abnormally high blood pressure at various ages have not been accurately determined. The various figures now in use—140, 150 or 160 mm. of mercury systolic and 90 to 100 mm. of mercury diastolic—are arbitrary, particularly when age is concerned. The observation that many persons with high blood pressure live to old age suggests that undue significance is frequently attached to the degree of hypertension.2

In a report made several years ago we pointed out that the level of the figures generally accepted as indicative of hypertension should be raised for persons over 40 years of age.3 This would result in a decrease in the reported incidence of hypertension

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