Over 50 million Americans have elevated blood pressure. The prevalence of hypertension increases with age and is greater in blacks and in lower socioeconomic groups. Costs of detection and drug therapy are estimated to exceed $9 billion annually. The prevalence of essential hypertension in the elderly (above age 65) exceeds 50%. Treatment generally is more difficult in the elderly. Since hypertension is so common in the elderly and is associated with greater complications than in younger hypertensives, the benefits of lowering blood pressure (BP) are substantial.

1.    a. systolic <140, diastolic <90

Hypertension repeatedly has been shown to be a significant risk factor and plays a key role in 35% of all atherosclerotic events. Hypertension has been implicated in major cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and peripheral vascular disease. Population-based studies confirm that hypertension increases the risk of an atherosclerotic event 2–3...

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