Hypertension is the leading risk factor for death and disability-adjusted life-years lost globally. Despite this tremendous impact on health, blood pressure measurement and treatment are relatively new to medical practice, with widespread measurement beginning just over 100 years ago. How, in such a short time, did blood pressure become such an integral measurement in medical practice that it is now considered one of the vital signs? Key revelations through Stephen Hales and his horse experiment, Riva-Rocci’s modern blood pressure cuff, Korotkoff sounds, and President Roosevelt’s death set the stage for discovery. Landmark trials such as the VA Cooperative studies of the 1960s through the recent Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial and Prevention with Mediterranean Diet trials provide the foundation for modern clinical practice. An understanding of the history of hypertension can directly affect current clinical practice and offers unique insights into how the medical community has approached the management of one of the deadliest medical conditions in history.
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Kalehoff, J.P., Oparil, S. The Story of the Silent Killer. Curr Hypertens Rep 22, 72 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11906-020-01077-7
- Hypertension history
- Antihypertensive medication development
- Hypertension trials
- Blood pressure goals