Elevated blood pressure (BP) is probably the most-important modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). BP influences the development of CVD, even if levels of BP are well below the usual cut-off point that defines the presence of arterial hypertension. Adequate measurement of BP is the most-important requirement for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with suspected hypertension. The use of methodologies such as ambulatory and home BP monitoring have become powerful tools for defining the 'real' BP of patients, discarding the white-coat effect, and discovering masked hypertension. Early intervention with life-style changes and antihypertensive drugs is required to obtain the best outcome for the patient. In this sense, early use of combination antihypertensive drug therapy is recommended. The treatment of resistant hypertension-the type of elevated BP that is most difficult to control-has clearly improved over the past decade. Further studies are required to define how antihypertensive therapy should be used in the earliest stages of hypertension and for the treatment of patients with a mild-to-moderate increase in global cardiovascular risk.