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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
HEART SPECIALISTS IN GANGAMMA CIRCLE 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 • existing vascular disease • family history of ischaemic heart disease. 2• HYPERTENSION 6 Factors affecting choice of treatment: • diabetes (problems with thiazides and beta-blockers) • gout (problems with thiazides) • asthma (problems with beta-blockers) • heart failure (problems with verapamil, diltiazem, some beta-blockers, monoxidine) • severe peripheral arterial disease (problems with beta-blockers) • bradycardia or heart block (problems with beta-blockers, verapamil, diltiazem) • renovascular disease (problems with ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor antagonists (ARAs)) • problems with previous anti-hypertensive agents • allergies • likelihood of pregnancy (ACE inhibitors, diuretics and some calcium antagonists are contraindicated). The examination The physical examination should be undertaken with a view to establishing severity. 1 Measure the blood pressure. 2 Look for secondary causes. • Check the appearance for Cushing’s syndrome (central obesity, striae, muscle wasting), acromegaly, polycythaemia and uraemia. • Undertake abdominal palpation for renal masses (polycystic kidneys), occasionally adrenal mass, and auscultation for renal bruit (heard to the left or right of the mid-line above the umbilicus, often into the flanks). • Assess radiofemoral pulse delay and listen for mid
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