Intended for healthcare professionals


European guidelines on hypertension more flexible than those in United States

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 27 May 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1279

The worried well

With the designation of "prehypertension," almost 50% of the US
population will have a blood pressure level that is considered a cause for
some level of concern. In fact, the designation of "prehypertension"
rather than "high normal" was chosen in part because physician focus
groups said it would result in "action" while "high normal" would be
ignored. Whether the resulting "action" is an opportunity to reduce an
unspecified level of risk for hypertension and cardiovascular morbidity--
or an opportunity for unnecessary anxiety, medical visits, and lifestyle
changes--probably depends on whether you are the one diagnosing, or being

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

28 May 2004
Joan T McClusky
Medical writer
New York, NY 10003