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May 14, 2003

Hypertension Prevalence and Stroke Mortality Across Populations

JAMA. 2003;289(18):2420-2422. doi:10.1001/jama.289.18.2420

Blood pressure (BP) is the most consistent and powerful predictor of stroke, such that hypertension is causally involved in nearly 70% of all stroke cases.1 Worldwide, stroke is second only to ischemic heart disease as a leading cause of death.2 In a quantitative overview of 61 cohort studies with more than 1 million enrolled subjects,3 the Prospective Studies Collaboration demonstrated that small gradients in systolic or diastolic BP account for sizable differences in cardiovascular outcomes. Along similar lines, several recently published outcome trials in hypertensive patients or patients at high cardiovascular risk proved that reductions in systolic BP as small as 1 to 3 mm Hg decrease the relative risk of stroke by as much as 20% to 30%.4