Hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and smoking present the number one risk factors for cardiovascular disease and death. Thus cardiologists play a key role in the care of hypertensive patients and as educators in the field. This special issue of "Heart Drug" features joint guidelines for the detection and treatment of hypertension, developed by the European Society of Hypertension and the European Society of Cardiology. Based on the 1999 International Society of Hypertension/World Health Organization Guidelines and endorsed by the International Society of Hypertension, these new guidelines integrate detection and treatment of other important risk factors, such as diabetes, and, for the first time, include the detection of target organ damage like left ventricular hypertrophy, arterial plaque, microalbuminuria or slightly elevated serum creatinine. The guidelines further highlight a number of drugs for the treatment of hypertension.