The definition of hypertension has continuously evolved over the last 50 years. Hypertension is currently defined as a blood pressure greater than 140/90mmHg. One in every four people in the US has been diagnosed with hypertension. The prevalence of hypertension increases further with age, affecting 75% of people over the age of 70. Hypertension is by far the most common risk factor identified in stroke patients. Hypertension causes pathologic changes in the walls of small (diameter<300 microns) arteries and arterioles usually at short branches of major arteries, which may result in either ischemic stroke or intracerebral hemorrhage. Reduction of blood pressure with diuretics, β-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors have all been shown to markedly reduce the incidence of stroke. Hypertensive emergency is defined as a blood pressure greater than 180/120mmHg with end organ dysfunction, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, encephalopathy, or focal neurologic deficits. Hypertensive encephalopathy is believed to be caused by acute failure of cerebrovascular autoregulation. Hypertensive emergency is treated with intravenous antihypertensive agents to reduce blood pressure by 25% within the first hour. Selective inhibition of cerebrovascular blood vessel permeability for the treatment of hypertensive emergency is beginning early clinical trials.