High BP is called the “silent killer” because many people do not realize that they have a problem until HTN puts them at risk for heart disease, stroke, chronic renal failure, peripheral vascular disease, and retinopathy.12
The diagnosis of primary HTN is based on evidence of elevated SBP and/or DBP in the absence of secondary causes. The Seventh Joint National Committee on Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC-7) provides a classification of BP for adults aged 18 or older (Figure 3).12 When SBP and DBP fall into different categories, the higher category is used to determine treatment strategies. The classification includes the category of “prehypertension” for those individuals with BP ranging from 120/80 to 139/89 mmHg. Prehypertension is not a disease category.12 Rather, it is a designation intended to identify individuals who require health-promoting lifestyle modifications to reduce their risk of developing HTN.
The basic evaluation recommended for patients with elevated BP includes a review of the medical history, physical examination, and routine laboratory testing.12 The medical evaluation of patients with documented elevated BP has 3 objectives:
|Lifestyle and Cardiovascular Risk Factors||Target-organ Damage|