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Article
January 1963

The Nature of Essential Hypertension

Arch Intern Med. 1963;111(1):120-121. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03620250124019
Abstract

Every now and then someone comes along to disturb the placid pool of orthodoxy. Nothing is more fascinating than to see the animals first take cover and then come charging out snarling or flapping their wings, fluttering around the status quo, and attacking all upsetting minority opinions. It does the spirit good to see an occasional person cast upon traditional views a light and doubt at the same time. It seems unlikely that any field of inquiry in clinical medicine has been more attacked and besieged in the last decade than hypertension. The question at once comes up, "What have we got for all our efforts?" Pickering's astonishing proposal is that essential hypertension is not so much a disease as the unlucky far end of a distribution curve of biological experience. This at once puts us up against the question, "What is disease?" I need not rehearse here the long,

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