2019 Volume 83 Issue 3 Pages 504-510
Until the 2017 ACC/AHA Hypertension Guidelines were released, the target blood pressure (BP) for adults with hypertension (HTN) was 140/90 mmHg in most of the guidelines. The new 2018 ESC/ESH, Canadian, Korean, Japan, and Latin American hypertension guidelines have maintained the <140/90 mmHg for the primary target in the general population and encourage reduction to <130/80 if higher risk. This is more in keeping with the 2018 American Diabetes Association guidelines. However, the 2017 ACC/AHA guidelines classify HTN as BP ≥130/80 mmHg and generally recommend target BP levels below 130/80 mmHg for hypertensive patients independently of comorbid disease or age. Although the new guidelines mean that more people (nearly 50% of adults) will be diagnosed with HTN, the cornerstone of therapy is still lifestyle management unless BP cannot be lowered to this level; thus, more people will require BP-lowering medications. To date, there have been many controversies about the definition of HTN and the target BP. Targeting an intensive systolic BP goal can increase the adverse effects of multiple medications and the cardiovascular disease risk by excessively lowering diastolic BP, especially in patients with high risk, including those with diabetes, chronic kidney disease, heart failure, and coronary artery disease, and the elderly. In this review, we discuss these issues, particularly regarding the optimal target BP.