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May 22, 1996

High Blood PressureSome Answers, New Questions, Continuing Challenges

Author Affiliations

From the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

JAMA. 1996;275(20):1604-1606. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530440084041

Hypertension remains a large public health problem in the United States.1 Nearly 50 million Americans have elevated blood pressure warranting some type of treatment or monitoring.2 It is also prevalent in most populations around the world. In addition, this common condition is strongly related causally to important chronic cardiovascular and renal diseases.3 Two articles in this theme issue of The Journal summarize and expand our knowledge of these risk relationships.4,5

Hypertension can be treated successfully, and several articles in this issue suggest additional approaches to management.6,7 However, there is ample evidence that current approaches are less than optimal. Because hypertension is a chronic, usually noncurable disorder, the ultimate aim must be sufficient understanding of the etiology to prevent its occurrence. The papers by Obarzanek et al,8 Staessen et al,9 and Midgley et al10 attempt to direct or redirect such efforts. Cowley and