Essay On Hypertension

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Hypertension: silent killer, current treatments
Hypertension is the medical term used to describe high blood pressure, referring to a state in which arteries consistently have raised blood pressure levels (Torpy, 2010). In the UK alone approximately 30% of the population suffer from hypertension, greatly increasing their risk of severe organ damage or failure, heart attack and stroke (NHS, 2012). Symptoms for hypertension often do not arise until damage to vital organs has already taken place, therefore the majority of patients suffering from hypertension are not aware that they have the condition, hence hypertension is often referred to as the “silent killer” (Torpy, 2010).
What is hypertension?
Blood pressure is a measurement of how forcefully blood presses against the walls of arteries throughout the body, the higher this pressure, the greater the strain on the heart and vital organs (Nordqvist, 2009).This pressure increase is often a consequence of narrowed diameter of blood vessels and increasing viscosity of the blood (Schnitzer, 2000).
An individuals’ blood pressure is determined using a sphygmomanometer and is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) (NHS, 2012). A reading is taken for both systolic and diastolic blood pressures and the normal range for these is 120mmHg or less and 80mmHg or less, respectively (NHS, 20120). Hypertension exists when blood pressures are 140/90mmHg or above and a condition called prehypertension occurs when blood pressure levels are in between normal and hypertensive levels (Nordqvist, 2009).
There are currently two classifications of hypertension, essential and secondary (Nordqvist, 2009). Approximately 90% of hypertensive patients have essential hypertension whereby the cause...

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...ckers are a further drug often used to treat hypertension; they work by reducing heart rate, thereby reducing blood pressure (Prisant, 2005) However, beta-blockers have recently been considered less effective than ACE inhibitors, ARB’s and diuretics, so are only usually used when other drugs have failed to work(NHS, 2012).
Due to current lifestyles, hypertension is one of the most common preventable conditions affecting patients in the UK. Early diagnosis of the condition and simple lifestyle changes could help prevent some of the serious risks associated with hypertension. There are multiple, successful drug treatments available and strict adherence to these could also prevent cardiovascular disease such as heart attack and stroke. However with increased education on the causes of hypertension the increasing prevalence worldwide could vastly be reduced.

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