To provide updated, evidence-based recommendations for the management of hypertension in adults.
For lifestyle and pharmacological interventions, evidence from randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews of trials was preferentially reviewed. While changes in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality were the primary outcomes of interest, for lifestyle interventions, blood pressure lowering was accepted as a primary outcome given the lack of long-term morbidity/mortality data in this field, and for certain comorbid conditions, other relevant outcomes, such as development of proteinuria or worsening of kidney function, were considered.
MEDLINE searches were conducted from November 2003 to October 2004 to update the 2004 recommendations. Reference lists were scanned, experts were contacted, and the personal files of the subgroup members and authors were used to identify additional published studies. All relevant articles were reviewed and appraised independently, using prespecified levels of evidence, by content and methodology experts. As per previous years, only studies that had been published in the peer-reviewed literature were included; evidence from abstracts, conference presentations and unpublished personal communications was not included.
Lifestyle modifications to prevent and/or treat hypertension include the following: perform 30 min to 60 min of aerobic exercise on four to seven days of the week; maintain a healthy body weight (body mass index of 18.5 kg/m2 to 24.9 kg/m2) and waist circumference (less than 102 cm for men and less than 88 cm for women); limit alcohol consumption to no more than 14 units per week in men or nine units per week in women; follow a reduced fat, low cholesterol diet with an adequate intake of potassium, magnesium and calcium; restrict salt intake; and consider stress management (in selected individuals). Treatment thresholds and targets should take into account each individual's global atherosclerotic risk, target organ damage and any comorbid conditions. Blood pressure should be lowered to 140/90 mmHg or less in all patients, and to 130/80 mmHg or less in those with diabetes mellitus or chronic kidney disease. Most adults with hypertension require more than one agent to achieve target blood pressures. For adults without compelling indications for other agents, initial therapy should include thiazide diuretics. Other agents appropriate for first-line therapy for diastolic hypertension with or without systolic hypertension include beta-blockers (in those younger than 60 years), angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (except in black patients), long-acting calcium channel blockers and angiotensin receptor antagonists. Other agents appropriate for first-line therapy for isolated systolic hypertension include long-acting dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers and angiotensin receptor antagonists. Certain comorbid conditions provide compelling indications for first-line use of other agents: in patients with angina, recent myocardial infarction or heart failure, beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors are recommended as first-line therapy; in patients with diabetes mellitus, ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor antagonists (or thiazides in patients with diabetes mellitus without albuminuria) are appropriate first-line therapies; and in patients with nondiabetic chronic kidney disease, ACE inhibitors are recommended. All hypertensive patients should have their fasting lipids screened, and those with dyslipidemia should be treated using the thresholds, targets and agents recommended by the Canadian Hypertension Education Program Working Group on the management of dyslipidemia and the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Selected patients with hypertension, but without dyslipidemia, should also receive statin therapy and/or acetylsalicylic acid therapy.
All recommendations were graded according to the strength of the evidence and voted on by the 43 members of the Canadian Hypertension Education Program Evidence-Based Recommendations Task Force. All recommendations reported here achieved at least 95% consensus. These guidelines will continue to be updated annually.