Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. To effectively prevent end-organ damage, maintain vascular integrity and reduce morbidity and mortality, it is essential to decrease and adequately control blood pressure (BP) throughout each 24-hour period. Exaggerated early morning BP surge (EMBS) is one component of BP variability (BPV), and has been associated with an increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular events, independently of 24-hour average BP. BPV includes circadian, short-term and long-term components, and can best be documented using out-of-office techniques such as ambulatory and/or home BP monitoring. There is a large body of evidence linking both BPV and EMBS with increased rates of adverse cardio- and cerebrovascular events, and end-organ damage. Differences in hypertension and related cardiovascular disease rates have been reported between Western and Asian populations, including a higher rate of stroke, higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome, greater salt sensitivity and more common high morning and nocturnal BP readings in Asians. This highlights a need for BP management strategies that take into account ethnic differences. In general, long-acting antihypertensives that control BP throughout the 24-hour period are preferred; amlodipine and telmisartan have been shown to control EMBS more effectively than valsartan. Home and ambulatory BP monitoring should form an essential part of hypertension management, with individualized pharmacotherapy to achieve optimal 24-hour BP control particularly the EMBS and provide the best cardio- and cerebrovascular protection. Future research should facilitate better understanding of BPV, allowing optimization of strategies for the detection and treatment of hypertension to reduce adverse outcomes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine