Hypertension, particularly systolic hypertension, affects postmenopausal women and is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease in this group. In the last year, several papers have better defined the mechanisms by which hormone replacement therapy influences blood pressure in postmenopausal women, including effects on nitric oxide, angiotensin II and vascular stiffness (compliance). Currently, data concerning the influence of hormone replacement therapy on blood pressure in postmenopausal women are inconclusive because of the limitations of published studies. It is clear, however, that hypertension is not a contraindication to starting hormone replacement therapy. © 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.