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Even small elevations above optimal blood pressure values (<120/80 mm Hg) increase the likelihood of developing hypertension (blood pressure geqslant R: gt-or-equal, slanted140/90 mm Hg) and incurring target organ damage. Until recently, the main emphasis in hypertension treatment had been lowering diastolic blood pressure; however, in the past decade, the important contributions of systolic hypertension, increased pulse pressure, and a blunted reduction in nocturnal blood pressure have been described. Primary hypertension arises from complex, interrelated pathologies. Among the contributors are genetic, environmental, metabolic, vascular, and endothelial factors. Signs of target organ damage herald a poorer prognosis and may present in the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, brain, or eyes. Later consequences include cardiac, cerebrovascular, vascular, and renal morbidities and death. The goal in treating hypertension is to prevent cardiovascular and renal complications. Thus, hypertensive patients with high-normal blood pressure values may benefit from intensive lifestyle interventions to further reduce blood pressure. This is particularly true in patients with additional cardiovascular risk factors. Because of the complex nature of hypertension, it is not surprising that single antihypertensive agents normalize blood pressure for less than a majority of hypertensive patients. Using combination antihypertensive therapy consisting of agents from two or more different antihypertensive drug classes not only increases the likelihood of achieving the target blood pressure goal, but also offers the potential for greater protection against target organ damage by targeting separate pathologic mechanisms.