In parts one and two of this multi-part blog series, we’ve gone over a number of details to be aware of when it comes to resistant hypertension. This condition, which refers to high blood pressure that is not responding to various forms of medical treatment, presents significant health risks to people who deal with it, from damaged arteries to risks of heart attack and stroke.
At AGA Clinical Trials, we recently added resistant hypertension studies to our list of enrolling clinical trials as we look to help improve the medical community’s understanding of this disease — after all, as we went over earlier in our series, around 75% of cases have no diagnosed cause. In today’s part three of our series, we’ll go over how resistant hypertension is diagnosed, plus how it will typically be treated.
Diagnosing Resistant Hypertension
There are several methods, some of which will often be combined, that will allow resistant hypertension to be diagnosed:
- Basic physical exam and medical history: Your doctor will need this baseline information to proceed further in most cases.
- Basic blood pressure measurements: Taken either at home or at a doctor’s office.
- 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring: Your doctor will use a portable monitor to take your blood pressure periodically over a 24-hour period, providing them with an accurate read on how much your average blood pressure varies throughout each day. This measurement is helpful because it allows your physician to see if you have any “white coat hypertension” issues – elevated blood pressure readings that are only detected when a medical professional is taking your measurements.
- Tests for secondary conditions: These tests may include bloodwork, imaging, or other scans designed to diagnose the presence of certain conditions that may be affecting blood pressure.
- Tests for organ damage caused by hypertension: These tests may feature electrocardiograms, ultrasounds, heart catheterization, or other tests that will give your doctor a strong idea of how advanced existing damage may be — and whether this damage is causing resistance to treatment.
Treating Resistant Hypertension
How resistant hypertension is treated will depend on the underlying conditions that are also present, plus how the patient in question responds to certain medications that are tried. Treatment options include:
- Addressing the original conditions that may have caused the resistant hypertension: This process may include surgery, medication adjustments, or lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.
- Changing medications: Your doctor will aim to find a medication that they feel is most likely to work for you based on what conditions your resistant hypertension has been linked to in past tests. For example, if high levels of aldosterone have been detected, a doctor may put you on spironolactone.
For more on resistant hypertension, or to learn about any of our clinical trials that help to improve common knowledge on conditions like these and many others, speak to the staff at AGA Clinical Trials today.