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Understanding Hypertension: Treatment, Nursing Actions and Parameters to monitor.

What is Hypertension?

Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a chronic medical condition where the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high. Over time, hypertension can lead to severe health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage.

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is recorded as two numbers: systolic pressure (the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats) over diastolic pressure (the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats). Normal blood pressure is typically around 120/80 mmHg.

Mean arterial pressure (MAP) is a calculation used to determine the flow and resistance in arteries. A high MAP is anything over 100 mm Hg, which indicates that there’s a lot of pressure in the arteries. This can eventually lead to blood clots or damage to the heart muscle, which will have to work a lot harder.

Treatment of Hypertension

Managing hypertension involves a combination of lifestyle changes and medications. Key lifestyle modifications include adopting a healthy diet (such as the DASH diet), reducing sodium intake, maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical activity, limiting alcohol consumption, and avoiding tobacco use.

Medications are often necessary for effective blood pressure control. The primary classes of antihypertensive drugs include:

  • Beta-Adrenergic Blockers (end in -lol): Examples include metoprolol and atenolol. These drugs reduce the heart rate and the heart's output of blood, lowering blood pressure.

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors (ACEIs, end in -pril): Examples include lisinopril and enalapril. These medications help relax blood vessels by preventing the formation of a hormone that narrows blood vessels.

  • Calcium Channel Blockers (end in -zem): Examples include diltiazem. These drugs prevent calcium from entering the cells of the heart and blood vessel walls, leading to lower blood pressure.

Nursing Actions and Parameters to Monitor

As a nursing professional, managing a patient with hypertension involves several critical actions and monitoring parameters:

  1. Regular Monitoring of Blood Pressure: Measure the patient's blood pressure regularly to assess the effectiveness of treatment and adjust medications as necessary.

  2. Assess for Side Effects: Monitor for potential side effects of antihypertensive medications, such as dizziness, fatigue, or electrolyte imbalances.

  3. Promote Lifestyle Changes: Educate and encourage patients to adhere to recommended lifestyle modifications. If on BP medications, dietary changes include AVOIDING the G's grapefruit juice, ginger, garlic, gingko biloba. Increasing physical activity, and smoking cessation.

  4. Medication Adherence: Ensure patients understand the importance of taking their medications as prescribed and educate them about the potential consequences of non-compliance.

  5. Monitor for Complications: Be vigilant for signs of complications associated with hypertension, such as signs of stroke, heart attack, or kidney problems.

Study Tip for NGN NCLEX

When preparing for the NCLEX exam, a helpful study tip is to familiarize yourself with common drug name endings. This can assist in quickly identifying the class of medication and its general action:

  • Beta-Adrenergic Blockers: End in -lol (e.g., metoprolol, propranolol)

  • ACE Inhibitors: End in -pril (e.g., lisinopril, enalapril)

  • Calcium Channel Blockers: End in -zem (e.g., diltiazem)

By recognizing these patterns, you can more easily recall the function and implications of these medications, aiding in both exam success and clinical practice.

In conclusion, understanding hypertension and its treatment, combined with effective nursing actions and diligent monitoring, is crucial in managing this common but serious condition.

By employing these strategies and study tips, you will be better prepared for both nursing exams and future nursing practice.

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