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Epidemiology of Arterial Blood Pressure

Ancel Keys, PhD
JAMA. 1981;246(6):682. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320060084030.
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Hope for the prevention of coronary heart disease focuses on riskfactors identified by prospective studies. Among these, none is more important than the arterial blood pressure. Moreover, arterial pressure is in a class by itself as a risk factor for stroke. The editors of this book remind us that whereas coronary heart disease is mainly a problem for the more prosperous Western societies, elevated blood pressure is ubiquitous, except in some rare isolated groups. So, control of blood pressure is a prime challenge to public health everywhere.

Four chapters concern methodology, stressing the need for standardized equipment and procedures and for measurements on repeated occasions before judging the blood pressure status. In those chapters, and elsewhere in the book, it is emphasized that the arterial pressure is a continuously distributed variable with the ill consequences following suit; the time is overdue to discard the artificial dichotomy of "hypertension" and "normotension."


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