The vascular endothelium, the largest “organ” in the body, synthesizes and releases a wide spectrum of vasoactive substances into the circulation. Endothelial dysfunction links hypertension and other cardiovascular (CV) risk factors that promote the development of atherosclerotic plaque, CV disease, and fatal and nonfatal CV events. Blood pressure (BP) reduction is the most effective way to reduce CV risk in patients with hypertension, but it is unknown whether endothelial dysfunction is a cause or consequence of hypertension. Renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system blockers improve endothelial function and have favorable vascular, metabolic, cardiac, and renoprotective effects that are independent of BP reduction. Olmesartan effectively reduces BP and also has vasoprotective properties, including reductions in endothelial dysfunction and inflammation, prevention of microalbuminuria, and reversal of vascular remodeling. Large-scale, long-term studies are needed to confirm that olmesartan has vasoprotective effects that are independent of BP control and to determine whether these pleiotropic effects translate into improved CV disease outcomes
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