Which patient groups are at highest risk for hypertensive encephalopathy?

Updated: Dec 10, 2018
  • Author: Irawan Susanto, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Of the 60 million Americans with hypertension, less than 1% develop a hypertensive emergency. The morbidity and mortality associated with hypertensive encephalopathy are related to the degree of target-organ damage. Without treatment, the 6-month mortality for hypertensive emergencies is 50%, and the 1-year mortality approaches 90%.

Hypertensive encephalopathy mostly occurs in middle-aged individuals who have a long-standing history of hypertension. Hypertension in general is more prevalent in men than in women. The frequency of hypertensive encephalopathy in various ethnic groups corresponds to the frequency of hypertension in the general population. Hypertension is more prevalent in black people, exceeding the frequency in other ethnic minority groups. The incidence of hypertensive encephalopathy is lowest in white people.

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