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Obesity and Hypertension: What Should We Do?

Thomas G. Pickering, MD, DPhil
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Dr. Pickering: Mount Sinai Medical Center; New York, NY 10029

Current Author Address: Thomas G. Pickering, MD, DPhil, Mount Sinai Medical Center, 50 East 98th Street, New York, NY 10029.

Ann Intern Med. 2001;134(1):72-74. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-134-1-200101020-00016
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The treatment of hypertension represents a major international problem. It is estimated that only 27% of hypertensive persons in the United States have their blood pressure controlled, which is a smaller proportion than 10 years ago (1). Over the same period, expenditures on antihypertensive drugs have nearly doubled (2), and even when blood pressure is adequately controlled by medication, hypertensive patients are still at substantially higher risk for cardiovascular morbidity than normotensive persons (3). Although blood pressure tends to increase with age, this process is not inevitable, and one of its major modifiable risk factors is body weight. In the United States, obesity is now a major epidemic (4). Hypertension is just one of its numerous adverse consequences, and it has been shown that a person's medical care costs are directly proportional to his or her body mass index (5).

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