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American Society of Hypertension 21st Annual Scientific Meeting, May 16-20, 2006

American Society of Hypertension 21st Annual Scientific Meeting

The 21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension (ASH), held May 16-20 in New York, included a number of important topics such as earlier treatment for prehypertensives and the use of combination antihypertensive therapy to achieve goal blood pressures.

In addition to scientific findings, some controversial issues were discussed as well, largely centered on the American Society of Hypertension's funding sources. As reported in the New York Times, the Society has accepted $700,000 in grants from Merck, Novartis and Sankyo. In addition, the group has developed a new definition of hypertension that would lower the target blood pressure goals, making millions more eligible for antihypertensive drugs.

Thomas Giles, M.D., a professor of medicine at Tulane University and president of ASH, estimated that this change would move half of those whose blood pressure readings are currently considered prehypertension to Stage 1 hypertension.

The controversy erupted at the Society's business meeting and resulted in Jean E. Sealey, a biochemist and a longtime blood pressure researcher affiliated with Weill Medical College of Cornell University, who has called for more financial disclosure, to withdraw as the next president of ASH.

Some controversial scientific topics were discussed as well. For example, there was a panel discussion on metabolic syndrome. "The question is, is it a contrived entity or is it real?" Giles said. "There were strong feelings both ways," he said. Giles remains convinced that it is a useful concept for practitioners. "It may make them look at more than one thing," he said.

Another important presentation dealt with findings of the TROPHY trial, which found that treating prehypertensives was effective in preventing hypertension. "My personal opinion, one that isn't supported by any guidelines, is that, yes, patients with prehypertension should be treated," Giles said.

The "whole theme of the conference was phenotypes," said Giles. Hypertension is a sign of an underlying cardiovascular condition, Giles said. Using phenotype-based therapy will give physicians the ability to look at blood pressure as a specific marker of an underlying condition that can be identified and treated, he noted.

"What we have is a heterogenous group of people with a common element, namely: What's wrong with their cardiovascular system that eventually causes their blood pressure to go up? The question is, why do you have a blood pressure that is higher than normal?" Giles said.

"The recognition that when your blood pressure is not optimal you have something wrong is a hard thing to sell to doctors," Giles said. Treatment must deal with these underlying problems and needs to have a more global approach, Giles explained. "The blood pressure number has to be taken in context," he said.

Lowered Cholesterol Improves Outcome in Hypertensives

MONDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients with coronary artery disease, reducing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in addition to controlling blood pressure reduces the occurrence of myocardial infarction and stroke, according to a study presented at the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension in New York.

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Antihypertensives Do Not Curb C-Reactive Protein Levels

MONDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- While combination antihypertensive medications reduce blood pressure, they do not appear to reduce high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels, according to a study presented at the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension in New York.

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Female Sexual Dysfunction Linked to Hypertension

FRIDAY, May 19 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have sexual dysfunction are more likely to be hypertensive, and getting blood pressure under control may reduce sexual dysfunction, according to a study presented Friday at the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension in New York.

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Many At-Risk Hypertensive Patients Not Managed Well

FRIDAY, May 19 (HealthDay News) -- Although two-thirds of uncontrolled hypertensives have cardiovascular risk factors, almost one-third of their primary care physicians don't think that these patients need any change in their hypertension treatment, according to the results of a study presented Friday at the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension in New York.

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Aliskiren First Oral Renin Inhibitor for Hypertension

THURSDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- The oral renin inhibitor, aliskiren, is effective in controlling hypertension alone and in combination with hydrochlorothiazide, according to two studies presented Wednesday at the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension in New York.

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Initial Blood Pressure Predicts Hypertension in Adolescents

THURSDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents who are classified as having prehypertension often progress to hypertension a few years later, according to the results of a study presented at the 21st annual meeting of the American Society of Hypertension held in New York. The progression from prehypertension (pressure in the 90th to 95th percentile) to hypertension (above the 95th percentile) is seen in approximately 7 percent of adolescents a year.

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Cognitive Decline Linked to Blood Pressure Variability

THURSDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly adults with greater blood pressure variability are more likely to have lower cognitive function scores than other patients the same age, Japanese researchers reported Wednesday at the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension held in New York.

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