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Arterial stiffness and hypertension – which comes first?
Arterial hypertension is one of the traditional risk factors involved in the development of cardiovascular events, while arterial stiffness is an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease in patients with hypertension. It seems that the risk factors involved in the pathology of uncontrolled hypertension are similar to those that contribute to the development of arterial stiffness. After evidence showed that arterial stiffness is an independent prognostic factor for the occurrence of cardiovascular events in patients with arterial hypertension, the importance of assessing arterial stiffness was recognized in a document drafted by the European Society of Hypertension in 2007. Many factors, some still insufficiently studied, are involved in the development and worsening of arterial stiffness, especially in patients with certain comorbidities (diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease). The evaluation of pulse wave velocity (PWV) remains the gold standard for non-invasive assessment of arterial stiffness. It seems that changes in terms of lifestyle and drug therapy have some positive effects on improving arterial stiffness, but further studies are needed to prove this concept. Our review aims to highlight the novelty of the mechanisms, the assessment methods, some of the clinical aspects, as well as the therapeutic implications of arterial stiffness, especially in patients with hypertension.
Keywords: arterial stiffness, cardiovascular events, PWV