How is the classification system for blood pressure (BP) levels used in clinical practice?

Updated: Feb 22, 2019
  • Author: Matthew R Alexander, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Eric H Yang, MD  more...
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Answer

Defining abnormally high blood pressure (BP) is extremely difficult and arbitrary. Furthermore, the relationship between systemic arterial pressure and morbidity appears to be quantitative rather than qualitative. A level for high BP must be agreed upon in clinical practice for screening patients with hypertension and for instituting diagnostic evaluation and initiating therapy. Because the risk to an individual patient may correlate with the severity of hypertension, a classification system is essential for making decisions about aggressiveness of treatment or therapeutic interventions. (See Presentation.)


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