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CVD hypertension awareness

Hypertension awareness

Understanding hypertension and managing people with the condition is a fundamental part of nursing practice.

Hypertension affects more than one in four adults in the UK. The NICE guidance on hypertension in adults highlights that there are an estimated 5 million people with undiagnosed blood pressure. Of those diagnosed, only 40% have good control of their blood pressure.

Hypertension contributes to half of all strokes and heart attacks and can be a causative factor in other conditions such as dementia, heart failure and kidney disease.

Hypertension causes damage to blood vessels throughout the body. This damage is progressive and silently develops over many years, hence why hypertension is commonly known as the silent killer. It can be a difficult condition to diagnose because hypertension does not usually cause any symptoms.

NICE (2011) recommends that people under 80 with diagnosed hypertension should aim for a target clinic blood pressure of 140/90mmHg or below.

Useful hypertension awareness links

For more guidance on hypertension awareness, see:

NICE (2011) Hypertension in adults: diagnosis and management. This guideline covers identifying and treating primary hypertension (high blood pressure) in people aged 18 and over. 

NHS England (2017) Tacking blood pressure: the size of the prize. Public Health England published an edition of Health Matters which looked at combating high blood pressure. NHS England’s National Clinical Directors for CVD Prevention and for Heart Disease discuss the impact it could have on the nation’s health.

The British Journal of Primary Care Nursing. This journal contains practical knowledge for nurses responsible for daily management of patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and related conditions.

NHS RightCare. Cardiovascular disease prevention pathway. This pathway is the first in a series of optimal value pathways on a number of conditions. 

Blood pressure: know your numbers

For every of 10mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure there is a significant reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular disease events.

Blood Pressure UK run a national campaign that aims to encourage adults to know their blood pressure and take action to adopt a healthy lifestyle and maintain a healthy blood pressure. 

Useful blood pressure links

For more guidance on maintaining a healthy blood pressure, see: 

Blood pressure UK. Know your numbers. This awareness campaign encourages adults across the UK to know their blood pressure numbers and take the necessary action to reach and maintain a healthy blood pressure.

British Heart Foundation. High blood pressure.

The British Journal of Primary Care Nursing. This journal provides practical knowledge for nurses responsible for daily management of patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and related conditions.

Public Health England (2018). Tackling blood pressure: an update. Evidence-based advice on how to effectively identify, treat and prevent high blood pressure (hypertension).

Important modifiable risk factors for CVD and hypertension include unhealthy diet, smoking, alcohol and lack of physical activity. 

All health care professionals can make every contact count to support people with behaviour change. A combination of Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and sodium reduction can lower systolic blood pressure (Juraschek et al 2017). The Food Smart app launched by Public Health England in 2017 includes information about saturated fat and salt, which may be useful to help deliver lifestyle messages.

Juraschek, S.P. Miller, E.R. Weaver, C.M. Appel, L.J. (2017) Effects of sodium reduction and the DASH diet in relation to baseline blood pressure. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 70(23), pp.2841-2848.