By Stephen Morgan
In the early days, Healthcare Professionals were reluctant to prescribe Drugs for patients with a High Blood Pressure reading of less than 160/100 Hg. Levels such as these were viewed at the time to be not necessarily dangerous and did not warrant the use of drugs.
The rationale behind this that Doctors felt that the side effects of the drugs used at the time would possibly be of more danger to the patient than the high blood pressure readings.
Nowadays this approach to the treatment of High Blood Pressure has changed. Both of the above perceptions relating to the danger of the side effects and the mild nature of the blood pressure readings have lead to the discontinuance of this practice.
Recent research has firmly established the value of treating â€œstage 1 Hypertensionâ€ (a reading of between 140/90 â€“ 159/99 Hg) with medicines if necessary. It is now also considered prudent to treat patients who also suffer from Diabetes and High Blood Pressure if their readings are as low as 130/80 Hg. The sensitivity of medicines nowadays is such that blood pressure levels can be controlled with much lower dosages meaning that the danger of side effects can also be reduced.
There has never been a greater variety of medicines for raised blood pressure available to General Practitioners from which to choose. These â€œantihypertensive drugsâ€ also include many types of medicines where there is a combination of several different types of medication. The newer types of medicines quite often have a different chemical makeup and structure compared to the traditional medicine but quite often produce nearly identical effects on the human body.
The variety and sophistication of medicines is such now that General Practitioners can produce care plans and treatment programmes tailored to the individual patient and in most cases prescribe medicines that have little side effects to the patient and protect against possible further complications down the line.
A major difference in the treatment programme nowadays is that General Practitioners can quite possibly provide one single course of medicines that can treat conditions like raised blood pressure and accompanying medical problems like congestive Heart Failure.
The common initially accepted approach to raised blood pressure Treatment nowadays is to start slow & low and then build gradually where possible gradually increasing the dosage of the medicine prescribed until the hypertension level sinks to a normal level. If this is not shown to work or causes troublesome side effects then a wide number of replacement medicines are available for use.
The presently accepted course of treatment for Stage 1 Hypertension is to start with one drug and add a second if the blood pressure reading does not respond or decrease to normal levels. The target levels here are 140/90 Hg. For those with diabetes or chronic kidney disease then the ideal targets are reduced to 130/80 Hg. For â€œStage 2 Hypertensionâ€ (the old levels of conventional High Blood Pressure) then the accepted course of action is to start with at least 2 drugs. Again if the response to this is not within an acceptable timeframe then the idea is to start an additional course of medication using another drug alongside the first two.
Just when you think that raised blood pressure can be controlled with purely medicines. Results improve dramatically to all of these programmes when the medicines are accompanied by a better diet, a reduced consumption of alcohol and a willingness to stop smoking.
â€˜Nuff said really.
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