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Hypertension

Hypertension is one of the most prevalent diseases throughout the world. It is considered as one of the major causes for development of cardiovascular diseases.

Hypertension is often symptomless, so screening is vital - before damage is done. Many surveys continue to show that hypertension remains underdiagnosed, undertreated and poorly controlled. 

All healthy adults, without any risk factors, should have their blood pressure measured, at least every five years up to the age of 75, and at least annually thereafter.


Defining hypertension:

  • Stage 1 hypertension- BP in surgery/clinic is ≥140/90 mm Hg.
  • Stage 2 hypertension- BP in surgery/clinic is ≥160/100 mm Hg.
  • Severe hypertension- BP in surgery/clinic is ≥180/110 mm Hg or higher.

Causes of hypertension

Essential hypertension (primary cause unknown) accounts for the majority of cases, particularly in the elderly patient.

Secondary hypertension is commonly caused by renal disease or pregnancy.

Other possible causes of hypertension are:

  • High intake of sodium (>1500 mg/day)
  • Older age and stress
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption
  • Adrenal and thyroid gland problems

Symptoms

In general, hypertensive patients may not have any symptoms. However, some patients might complain of severe headache, nausea or vomiting, confusion, changes in vision, etc.


Diagnosis

Hypertension is diagnosed by measuring the persistent elevation of blood pressure.


Treatment:

Treatment of hypertension includes:

  • Life style modifications
    • Reduce the salt intake
    • Maintain normal body weight
    • Avoid stress
    • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
    • Do exercise
    • Consume diet rich in fruits, vegetables and with low fat
  • Drugs
    • If hypertension is not controlled, even after modifying life style, then medications are recommended to reduce blood pressure. There are different drugs available to reduce blood pressure. According to the requirement, your doctor will prescribe either single drug or a combination of two or more drugs.
    • The common drugs used to reduce blood pressure are diuretics, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.
  • Queen's University Belfast
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Syndey
  • Kings College London