Globally the number of adults who have hypertension has doubled in the last 30 years and 1.28 billion adults have hypertension. Nearly half of hypertensive adults are undiagnosed and untreated.1
Hypertension increases the risks of a number of conditions, including myocardial infarction, stroke, vascular dementia, chronic kidney disease (CKD) and heart failure.2 Even when hypertension is diagnosed significant numbers of people do not take medication as prescribed.3 Non concordance with medication can lead to under or overtreatment of hypertension. This article examines how hypertension
is diagnosed and treated;
and how to reduce antihypertensive medication when a person is overtreated.
What is hypertension
Hypertension is defined as:
‘A sustained rise in BP above 140/90 mmHg and either a subsequent ambulatory blood pressure monitoring daytime average or home blood pressure monitoring average of 135/85 mmHg or higher.’4
The normal or ideal adult blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg are defined as high normal blood pressure. High blood pressure can affect younger adults and over 2.1 million people under the age of 45 had high blood pressure in England in 2015.5
Why does it develop