What other factors are important in causing hypertension?
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Alcohol consumption in excess of 3 or more drinks.
- Very high sodium intake.
“Reducing my salt intake has had no effect on my blood pressure?”In many patients the blood pressure is not sensitive to sodium intake as opposed to those who are “salt sensitive”.
Are any additional investigations required for newly diagnosed patients with high blood pressure?If the hypertension is mild and is the only problem then a limited investigation is all that is required. If the patient has severe hypertension then more extended evaluation is required. The limited investigation should at least include routine blood chemistry, a hemogram, an electrocardiogram and a chest X–ray.
What are the different drugs used in the management of hypertension?They can broadly be classified as follows.
- Diuretics: e.g. Hydrochlorothiazide
- Beta blockers: e.g. Propranolol, Metoprolol, Atenolol
- Calcium channel blockers: e.g.: Diltazem, Nifedipine, Verapamil, Amlodipine, felodipine.
- ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors) e.g. Lisinopril, Enalapril.
- Alpha blockers: Prazosin
What are the side effects of blood pressure medicines?For all classes of blood pressure lowering medicines if the blood pressure is reduced too much the patients complain of dizziness and fainting. Side effects can be class specific.
Decreased heart rate, bronchospasm, depression, sexual dysfunction, peripheral vascular disease, lipid abnormalities.
Calcium Channel Blockers
Headache, flushing, palpitation, edema formation on the feet, constipation.
Cough, Hyperkalemia, skin rash, taste impairment.
Dehydration, High blood sugar level, increased lipids.