Hypertension – Summary

Hypertension – Summary
• High blood pressure is a common condition in
which the force of the blood against your artery
walls is high enough that it may eventually cause
health problems, such as heart disease.
• Blood pressure is determined by the amount of
blood your heart pumps and the amount of
resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The
more blood your heart pumps and the narrower
your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.
• You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without
any symptoms. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your
risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
• Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms,
even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels.
• Although a few people with early-stage high blood pressure may
have unclear headaches, dizzy spells or a few more nosebleeds than
normal, these signs and symptoms typically don't occur until high
blood pressure has reached a severe — even life-threatening —
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to:
Heart attack or stroke.
Heart failure.
Weakened and narrowed blood vessels in your
kidneys. Thickened, narrowed or torn blood
vessels in the eyes.
• Metabolic syndrome.
• Trouble with memory or understanding.
Blood pressure treatment goals
• Your blood pressure treatment goal depends on how healthy you
Blood pressure treatment goals
• 140/90 mm Hg or lower If you are a healthy adult
• 130/80 mm Hg or lower If you have chronic kidney disease,
diabetes or coronary artery disease or are at high risk of coronary
artery disease
• 120/80 mm Hg or lower If your heart isn't pumping as well as it
should (left ventricular dysfunction or heart failure) or you have
severe chronic kidney disease
• Changing your lifestyle can go a long way toward
controlling high blood pressure. But sometimes
lifestyle changes aren't enough. In addition to
diet and exercise, your doctor may recommend
medication to lower your blood pressure.
• Which category of medication your doctor
prescribes depends on your stage of high blood
pressure and whether you also have other
medical problems.
Medications to treat high blood pressure
• Thiazide diuretics like Hydrochlorothiazide
• Beta blockers like Atenolol
• Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.
like Enalpril
• Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) like Losartan
• Calcium channel blockers like amlodipine
Renin inhibitors like Aliskiren (Tekturna)
Alpha blockers like Prazosin
Alpha-beta blockers like Labetalol
Central-acting agents like Clonidine
Vasodilators like hydralazine
• Lifestyle changes to treat high blood pressure
No matter what medications your doctor
prescribes to treat your high blood pressure,
you'll need to make lifestyle changes to lower
your blood pressure.
• These changes usually include eating a healthier
diet with less salt (the Dietary Approaches to
Stop Hypertension, or DASH, diet), exercising
more, quitting smoking and losing weight.
• Treatment — There is no uniform agreement as
to which antihypertensive drugs should be given
for initial therapy. The major options are:
• Thiazide-type diuretics
• Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)
inhibitors/angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
• Calcium channel blockers
• Beta blockers, which are now used less often for
initial therapy in the absence of a specific
indication for their use
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