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POPULAR CARDIOLOGIST IN AMRUTHA HALLI , BANGALORE Assessment of patients with hypertension A patient with definite or possible newly diagnosed hypertension needs at least a basic clinical assessment to look for possible aetiology, severity and signs of complications. The history Questioning should be directed towards the following areas. 1 Past history. Has hypertension been diagnosed before? What treatment was instituted? Why was it stopped? 2 Secondary causes. Important questions relate to: • a history of renal disease in the patient or his or her family, recurrent urinary tract infec-­ tions, heavy analgesic use or conditions leading to renal disease (e.g. systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)) • symptoms suggesting phaeochromocytoma (flushing, sweats, palpitations) • symptoms suggesting sleep apnoea • muscle weakness suggesting the hypokalaemia of hyperaldosteronism • Cushing’s syndrome (weight gain, skin changes) • family history of hypertension. 3 Aggravating factors: • high salt intake • high alcohol intake • lack of exercise • use of medications: NSAIDs, appetite suppressants, nasal decongestants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, ergotamine, cyclosporin, oestrogen-containing contraceptive pills • other: use of cocaine, liquorice, amphetamines. 4 Target organ damage: • stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) • angina, dyspnoea • fatigue, oliguria • visual disturbance • claudication. 5 Coexisting risk factors: • smoking • diabetes • lipid levels, if known
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