What is the progression of essential hypertension (high blood pressure)?

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

The natural history of essential hypertension evolves from occasional to established hypertension. After a long invariable asymptomatic period, persistent hypertension develops into complicated hypertension, in which end-organ damage to the aorta and small arteries, heart, kidneys, retina, and central nervous system is evident.

The progression of essential hypertension is as follows:

  1. Prehypertension in persons aged 10-30 years (by increased cardiac output)

  2. Early hypertension in persons aged 20-40 years (in which increased peripheral resistance is prominent)

  3. Established hypertension in persons aged 30-50 years

  4. Complicated hypertension in persons aged 40-60 years


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