Hypertension: Diagnosis – Family Medicine | Lecturio
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Hypertension: Diagnosis – Family Medicine | Lecturio

October 10, 2019


All right. Now, we’re going to discuss hypertension, which is one of the most common diagnosis in my practice. And unfortunately, across the United States, hypertension is getting more common as
our population ages and also gets heavier. So, it’s really important to understand hypertension, its diagnosis and management. And that’s exactly what we’re about to do. So, let’s start with a case. I’ve got a 51-year-old female, no past medical history and taking no medications. Good for you. But her blood pressure today is 146/90
and her pulse is 86 bpm. The rest of her physical
examination is unremarkable. So, what’s the next best step in her care? Should we talk about lifestyle changes and
recheck her blood pressure in one to two weeks? Or we should start her on a thiazide diuretic? Start an ACE inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker? Or is her blood pressure actually within normal limits, and therefore, we can just see her next year for
another wellness examination? What would you choose? Now, the answer is A. And it’s pretty clearly A in this case because remember that the
diagnosis of hypertension requires a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm or
more on at least two separate occasions. Now, the number may be a little bit controversial. You’ll see different recommendations
from different groups, but 140/90 is generally the consensus now, and it’s certainly the consensus broadly that it has to be measured
on at least two occasions. So, it’s best if the patient
can do some testing at home. Home blood pressure is more
correlated than office blood pressure with cardiovascular events like
stroke and myocardial infarction and if they can vary the time,
morning and night, on both arms. In terms of practicality and
can a lot of patients do that? Some can, some cannot. You want to see a blood pressure that’s high in both your office setting
and the home setting. That’s validating. And one thing we can do as physicians is there is
some value in doing both sitting and standing blood pressure in both arms in the office. And that gives a slightly truer reading, and therefore, a higher accuracy for their
future risk of cardiovascular events. So, remember that among patients
who are older than 60 years, and this is a controversial idea, but it’s part of what the Joint National Commission 8 recommended for blood pressure that their blood pressure can be allowed
to increase up to 149 mmHg safely. Certainly, we see older adults getting in trouble with too aggressive a treatment of blood pressure. And particularly, in my practice,
patients over 80 years old, those who might be a little bit more frail, who may be 61 years old, but they may
be 41 years old, if they’re very frail, I get nervous about trying to push their
blood pressure towards those normal 120 systolic levels and they may
be allowed to go up a little bit. That said, I’ve got 85-year-olds who
are very vital and active. And for them, I maintain that blood
pressure target of less than 140. So, it’s really I think up to you
and your individual patient. The age provides a basic guideline, but it’s more about the risk of pushing
your patient too low with their blood pressure for that individual patient and how frail they are. Now, and the JNC 8 no longer recommends that the systolic blood pressure be treated
at less than 130 mmHg among patients with diabetes or
with chronic kidney disease. So, the 140/90 or below standard fits all, except for older adults for JNC 8.

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  1. I'm 33 and i started to have problems with my pressure during the pregnancy. my kid is 3 and I still have this problem…sometimes headaches… I checked my blood pressure and it was always different ( on the right hand it was 145- 147/80 ( the highest was 165/90), on the left 130/80). and I always have that difference, like 20 points… is it OK, or is it too high, confused. 3 years ago it was always 120/80

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