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Hypertension Primer: The Essentials of High Blood Pressure

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We are delighted to bring you the Hypertension Primer, Third Edition, a decade after the First Edition was launched. Given the breadth and depth of information available in the continuously expanding field of hypertension, our Primer remains a “small introductory book” on the subject. Nonetheless, previous readers will immediately note a substantial expansion in scope and substance. In addition, the Third Edition is fundamentally different from its predecessors in that it has been formatted to appear as an electronic version as well as in print form. Thus, one of our remaining goals for this unique hypertext system has been realized. In the Third Edition, many areas have been expanded, including genetics, molecular and cellular mechanisms, population medicine, and, perhaps most important, clinical management. The clinical section has received the greatest additional attention, especially the chapters on individual drugs and specific management issues.
 
The basic format of the Primer remains the same: short, state-of-the-art chapters written by widely acknowledged experts, each of which provides a unique synthesis of information on a single aspect of the broader whole. This format has been very popular with readers, because it allows them to quickly and easily find the answers to specific questions. Although each chapter is written so that it can stand alone, it is best viewed in the context of several larger themes. This need is met by the inclusion of the “See Alsos” in each chapter that link the reader to important related information in basic science, population science, or clinical management. Other hypertext linkages will be possible as the electronic version is further developed.
 
The Primer is the fruit of the labor of many scholar-contributors who represent the Council for High Blood Pressure Research (CHBPR) of the American Heart Association. Each has achieved a substantial personal reputation for specific expertise in our field, and it is the desire to illuminate and disseminate their individual wisdom that has been the rationale for the Hypertension Primer project. We owe a very large debt of gratitude to each of the 220 scholars who wrote our 174 chapters. Each has distilled the essence of an individual topic into a pithy summary for medical specialists, primary care clinicians, trainees, and other health professionals. Primer contributors and members of the CHBPR can take pride that the royalties from the book have been returned to the CHBPR for support of recurring educational programs, such as the Hypertension Summer School for promising research scholars.
 
The Primer would not have been possible without the skilled editors and staff who have guided the process. The section editors provided the initial review and editing of the original submissions. In the Basic Science area, Drs. Theodore Goodfriend and James Sowers have been with us on all three editions, whereas Dr. Alan Weder has joined us on the Third Edition. To oversee the Population Science area, we were fortunate to attract Dr. Lawrence Appel. In the Clinical Management area, Drs. Domenic Sica, Sheldon Sheps, and Donald Vidt returned by popular demand. We thank all of them for their superb counsel and dedication. In addition, the administrative staff performed superbly. We are particularly indebted to Julie Kostyo, who has again kept us all together in her role as Project Manager, and to Norma Sandoval.
 
We are grateful to AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals for their continued educational grant support for the Hypertension Primer project. We would like to recognize specifically Tammi Gaskins, David Snow, and Robert Lamb for their ongoing support of this critical publication.
On a more solemn note, we mourn the passing of four of our colleagues and contributors from the Second Edition: Donald J. Reis, MD; David H. P. Streeten, MB, DPhil, FRCP, FACP; Jay M. Sullivan, MD; and Roger R. Williams, MD. We can only hope that these outstanding physician-scientists would approve of our continuing efforts and the contributions of those of us who remain.
 
Finally, to you, our readers, we hope that this edition provides enough useful and up-to-date information on hypertension that you will join with us in studying the condition and working for its control in our patients. Hypertension remains the most common reason Americans visit a physician. In 2003, the publication of the Hypertension Primer, Third Edition and the Seventh Report of the Seventh Joint National Committee on the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC VII) should provide an improved knowledge base and clearer guidance to accomplish the task.
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