'Hypertension' and 'microalbuminuria': the bell tolls for thee

Kidney Int. 2006 Jan;69(1):22-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.ki.5000056.


Since the terms 'hypertension' and 'microalbuminuria' were first defined, data from numerous studies have documented the continuous, rather than dichotomous, relation between blood pressure, albumin excretion, and cardiovascular disease. Lower blood pressures, down to at least 115/75 mmHg, and lower albumin excretions, below an estimated 2 mg/day, are associated with less cardiovascular risk. We hypothesize that the abundances of modern civilization superimposed on the Paleolithic genotype of humans, which has not substantially changed in the last 10 000 years, have considerably shifted the 'normal' values for blood pressure and various biochemical indices such as albuminuria still found in today's stone-aged cultures to the 'neo-normal' values observed today in the rest of the modern world. Defining a large portion of the population as 'normal' based upon these dichotomous 'neo-normal' standards is not supported by the data, and therefore seems unjustifiable. We propose that the medical community consider abandoning the terms 'hypertension' and 'microalbuminuria' in favor of 'blood pressure-associated' and 'albuminuria-associated' disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Albuminuria / complications*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications*


  • Cholesterol, LDL