Causes and Symptoms of Hypertension | Medical Minute Monday Ep. 15

Causes and Symptoms of Hypertension | Medical Minute Monday Ep. 15


Hi everyone, welcome back! This week I’m reviewing hypertension. If you haven’t already, be sure to watch
our Medical Minute on antihypertensive medications following this video! It gives a high-level overview of the many
medications used to treat this disease. For this reason, I won’t be going into the
treatment of hypertension in this Medical Minute. Hypertension is abbreviated as HTN and is
commonly referred to as high blood pressure. It’s a common condition in which the force
exerted on the walls of the arteries by the blood consistently exceeds normal ranges. Affecting 1 in every 3 Americans, I can guarantee
that you’ll come across hypertension in your documentation. There are two types of hypertension, primary
and secondary. Primary hypertension, also referred to as
essential hypertension, tends to develop gradually over the years and is idiopathic, meaning
that it arises spontaneously and without a known cause. With secondary hypertension, also referred
to as inessential hypertension, the cause is known and it may develop rapidly. Some examples include:
Kidney disease Thyroid disease
Obstructive sleep apnea Pregnancy
Congenital birth defects And the use of certain medications or illicit
drugs It’s important to know that many people
with hypertension remain asymptomatic, and therefore go undiagnosed. With that said, some report symptoms. These often include:
Headache Shortness of breath
Nosebleeds And Dizziness
Over time, the constant elevation in blood pressure can cause damage to the vessels and
the organs. Luckily, hypertension can be easily detected
and controlled, if the proper treatment is given. Blood pressure readings measure systolic blood
pressure (the larger number) and diastolic blood pressure (the smaller number). Major blood pressure stages can be seen here
in this table created by The American Heart Association. Keep in mind that anything less than 120/80
doesn’t truly mean that the blood pressure is normal. Once we go below 90/60 we’re entering hypotension,
but that’s another topic entirely! Hereditary and physical risk factors for hypertension
include: a family history of hypertension, old age,
and African ancestry. Gender also plays a role, as men are more
likely to be diagnosed with hypertension before the age of 64. Modifiable risk factors include:
Chronic kidney disease Diabetes
A poor diet, especially diets that are high in sodium. A lack of exercise
Tobacco use Alcohol abuse
And an abnormal level of stress Uncontrolled hypertension changes the blood
vessels, causing them to become thickened, weakened, narrowed, or torn. This can lead to myocardial infarction, stroke,
aneurysms, kidney disease, vision loss, and vascular dementia. Hypertension affects each individual differently,
and the level of documentation that is needed can be intimidating! As with any patient, pay close attention to
the patient’s past medical history and active medications. If the patient presents with a hypertensive
emergency, frequent updates on the patient’s status should be documented. Small episodes of high blood pressure are
common, especially in times of stress or when we’re in pain. Sometimes, even the presence of the clinician
in the room is enough to raise a patient’s blood pressure! Distinguishing between a benign episode of
high blood pressure and undiagnosed hypertension requires monitoring over a period of time. For this reason, patients with abnormal blood
pressure readings in the emergency department are often provided education on hypertension
and asked to follow-up with a primary care provider. Be sure to document this discussion between
the clinician and patient in the medical record! I hope that this video has increased your
understanding and confidence in documenting this disease! The Medical Minute is transitioning to a new
release schedule. You can tune in for a new Medical Minute on
the first Monday of each month! Join us on April 1st for our next Medical
Minute!