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.