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Hypertension in the elderly – should we bother?

Beverley Bostock-Cox looks at the challenges associated with managing this complex condition in older patients

The diagnosis and management of hypertension is an integral part of the general practice nurse (GPN) role. GPNs will often be involved in measuring blood pressure, identifying those with hypertension, ensuring that the appropriate pharmacological interventions are initiated and titrated and that patients with high blood pressure are supported to implement lifestyle changes which have been shown to reduce blood pressure. However, all of this can become more of a challenge to patient and clinician alike if the individual is elderly, frail or both. In this article, we discuss different approaches to the diagnosis and management of hypertension in the elderly when compared with other population groups and identify the challenges which make managing hypertension in this group a potentially complex problem.

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