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ABSTRACT: Although the percentage of patients who are treated for hypertension has increased, the percentage of those who demonstrate control of blood pressure has declined. As a result of this trend, clinicians may increasingly rely on ambulatory blood pressure monitoring to improve the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension. Studies confirm that ambulatory blood pressure monitoring devices more accurately reflect a patient's blood pressure and correlate more closely with end-organ complications than blood pressure levels measured in the physician's office. Discriminate use of this technology in specific clinical circumstances assists in identifying patients at risk for hypertension and may result in improved outcomes in this subset of patients. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring may be particularly helpful in clinical situations such as borderline hypertension, white-coat hypertension, apparent drug resistance, hypotensive symptoms from medications or autonomic dysfunction, episodic hypertension, and evaluation of antihypertensive efficacy.
ABSTRACT: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, as well as an important cause of disability, although many women and their physicians underestimate the risk. Exercise, hypertension treatment, smoking cessation and aspirin therapy are effective measures for the primary prevention of coronary artery disease in women. The roles of lipid-lowering agents and hormone replacement therapy in primary prevention are not well established. In secondary prevention, hormone replacement therapy has not been effective in lowering the risk of recurrent myocardial infarction, but several lipid-lowering agents have been shown to reduce this risk and to lower mortality rates in women with known coronary artery disease. Other secondary prevention measures, including aspirin, beta blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, revascularization and rehabilitation, have proven benefits in women but are underused, especially in minority women. Family physicians should emphasize the use of proven treatments, with particular attention given to underserved populations.
ABSTRACT: Athletes and other physically active patients should be screened for hypertension and given appropriate therapy if needed. Mild hypertension should be treated with non-pharmacologic measures for six months. If blood pressure control is adequate, lifestyle modifications are continued. If control is inadequate, low-dose therapy with an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or a calcium channel blocker may be started. A thiazide diuretic may be used as first-line treatment for hypertension in casually active patients; however, diuretic therapy is less desirable in high-intensity or endurance athletes because of the risk of hypovolemia or hypokalemia. If beta blockade is needed, a combined alpha-beta blocker may be the best choice. When the target blood pressure is achieved, long-term follow-up care and management should be emphasized. If excellent control is maintained for six to 12 months, medication may be reduced or withdrawn in a small number of patients. If the target blood pressure is not achieved, the medication dosage may be adjusted, or a second medication, usually a diuretic, may be added. Physicians need to be aware of the effects of various medications on exercise tolerance and the rules for participation established by sports regulatory bodies (Am Fam Physician 2002;66:457-8).
ABSTRACT: The National High Blood Pressure Education Program's Working Group on High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy recently issued a report implicating hypertension as a complication in 6 to 8 percent of pregnancies. Hypertension in pregnancy is related to one of four conditions: (1) chronic hypertension that predates pregnancy; (2) preeclampsia-eclampsia, a serious, systemic syndrome of elevated blood pressure, proteinuria and other findings; (3) chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia; and (4) gestational hypertension, or nonproteinuric hypertension of pregnancy. Edema is no longer a criterion for preeclampsia, and the definition of blood pressure elevation is 140/90 mm Hg or higher. Patients with gestational hypertension have previously unrecognized chronic hypertension, emerging preeclampsia or transient hypertension of pregnancy, an obstetrically benign condition. Because distinguishing among these conditions can be done only in retrospect, clinical management of gestational hypertension consists of repeated evaluations to look for signs of emerging preeclampsia. Women with chronic hypertension should be followed for evidence of fetal growth restriction or superimposed preeclampsia. Management options for chronic hypertension in most women include discontinuing antihypertensive medications during pregnancy, switching to methyldopa or continuing previous antihypertensive therapy.
Using ACE Inhibitors Appropriately - Article
ABSTRACT: When first introduced in 1981, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors were indicated only for treatment of refractory hypertension. Since then, they have been shown to reduce morbidity or mortality in congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction, diabetes mellitus, chronic renal insufficiency, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Pathologies underlying these conditions are, in part, attributable to the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. Angiotensin II contributes to endothelial dysfunction. altered renal hemodynamics, and vascular and cardiac hypertrophy. ACE inhibitors attenuate these effects. Clinical outcomes of ACE inhibition include decreases in myocardial infarction (fatal and nonfatal), reinfarction, angina, stroke, end-stage renal disease, and morbidity and mortality associated with heart failure. ACE inhibitors are generally well tolerated and have few contraindications. (Am Fam Physician 2002;66:473.)
Diagnosing Secondary Hypertension - Article
ABSTRACT: Secondary hypertension is elevated blood pressure that results from an underlying, identifiable, often correctable cause. Only about 5 to 10 percent of hypertension cases are thought to result from secondary causes. The ABCDE mnemonic can be used to help determine a secondary cause of hypertension: Accuracy of diagnosis, obstructive sleep Apnea, Aldosteronism, presence of renal artery Bruits (suggesting renal artery stenosis), renal parenchymal disease (Bad kidneys), excess Catecholamines, Coarctation of the aorta, Cushing's syndrome, Drugs, Diet, excess Erythropoietin, and Endocrine disorders. An algorithm showing the general strategy to help screen for factors involved in secondary hypertension is presented. Routine urinalysis, complete blood cell count, blood chemistry profile (potassium, sodium, creatinine, fasting glucose, fasting lipid levels), and a 12-lead electrocardiogram are recommended for all patients with hypertension.
ABSTRACT: Patients with chronic kidney disease often require surgical interventions for vascular access and for medical problems related to comorbid conditions. Perioperative morbidity and mortality rates are increased in these patients. Preoperative attention to common medical problems that occur in patients with impaired renal function can lower some surgical risks. Hyperkalemia can be temporarily improved by the intravenous administration of an insulin-dextrose combination or bicarbonate, and polystyrene binding resins or dialysis can remove excess stores of potassium. Increased bleeding related to uremic platelet dysfunction can be managed by the administration of desmopressin, cryoprecipitate, or estrogens, and by avoiding the use of medications with antiplatelet effects close to the time of surgery. Transfusions of red blood cells should be reserved for use in patients with clinically significant anemia, because antibody formation may decrease the likelihood of successful renal transplantation in the future. Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in patients with renal disease. Patients with chronic kidney disease may have hypertension and hypoglycemia in the perioperative period. Preoperative testing may be necessary in patients with cardiac risk factors. If future vascular access grafting is contemplated, intravenous line placement and blood draws should be avoided in a patient's nondominant arm.
ABSTRACT: Hypertension and diabetes mellitus are common diseases in the United States. Patients with diabetes have a much higher rate of hypertension than would be expected in the general population. Regardless of the antihypertensive agent used, a reduction in blood pressure helps to prevent diabetic complications. Barring contraindications, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are considered first-line therapy in patients with diabetes and hypertension because of their well-established renal protective effects. Calcium channel blockers, low-dose diuretics, beta blockers, and alpha blockers have also been studied in this group. Most diabetic patients with hypertension require combination therapy to achieve optimal blood pressure goals.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Article
ABSTRACT: Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to significantly reduce the risk for sudden death caused by cardiac arrhythmias and all-cause mortality in patients with known coronary heart disease. Fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, and fish oil are rich sources of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. Flaxseed, canola oil, and walnuts also are good dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to being antiarrhythmic, the omega-3 fatty acids are antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory. In contrast, omega-6 fatty acids, which are present in most seeds, vegetable oils, and meat, are prothrombotic and proinflammatory. Omega-3 fatty acids also are used to treat hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and rheumatoid arthritis. There are no significant drug interactions with omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends consumption of two servings of fish per week for persons with no history of coronary heart disease and at least one serving of fish daily for those with known coronary heart disease. Approximately 1 g per day of eicosapentaenoic acid plus docosahexaenoic acid is recommended for cardioprotection. Higher dosages of omega-3 fatty acids are required to reduce elevated triglyceride levels (2 to 4 g per day) and to reduce morning stiffness and the number of tender joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (at least 3 g per day). Modest decreases in blood pressure occur with significantly higher dosages of omega-3 fatty acids.
ABSTRACT: The management of hypertension has evolved over the past decade. Isolated systolic blood pressure elevation, the most common form of uncontrolled hypertension, is recognized as a significant risk factor for vascular complications in patients with hypertension. Nutritional management of hypertension has moved beyond simply restricting sodium intake to ensuring that patients consume adequate amounts of the major food groups, particularly those containing calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Selective aldosterone receptor blockers are a new class of antihypertensive medication, and the angiotensin-receptor blocker class has several new additions. However, the main-stay of treatment remains a diuretic or a combination of a diuretic and either a beta blocker or an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. Hypertension is a significant risk factor for vascular complications of diabetes, and the target blood pressure in patients with diabetes or chronic renal disease and hypertension should be lower than that in patients with hypertension alone. Controlling hypertension in elderly patients can reduce their complications at least as much as it does those of younger patients with hypertension.