Prehypertension: A Literature-Documented Public Health Concern

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Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners

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PURPOSE: To provide nurse practitioners (NPs) with an overview of prehypertension identification and management. Additionally, the article serves to highlight the prevalence and impact of prehypertension in the United States. DATA SOURCES: A comprehensive review of the literature was conducted using multiple databases, including PubMed, Medline, CINAHL, and SAGE Health Sciences databases. The review was not limited by discipline, year of publication, or type of research. Key words used to obtain relevant articles included prehypertension, nurse practitioner, health promotion, disease prevention, hypertension, and chronic disease. CONCLUSIONS: Approximately 70 million individuals have been recognized as prehypertensive in the United States, placing them at increased risk for hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Identifying and managing prehypertension has been recognized in national health policy as a priority to improve public health. Prehypertension is managed primarily by eliminating risk factors and implementing lifestyle modification. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Health promotion and disease prevention form the cornerstone of the NP role. The designation of prehypertension serves as an opportunity for NPs to assist in decreasing the burden on the health system from chronic disease and improve patient quality of life.