High blood pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension is very common in the UK. If you have hypertension and it is not treated properly it can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure and kidney failure. You may already have high blood pressure but find that despite taking a number of medications for it your blood pressure measurements are still high. Sometimes persistently high blood pressure can be due to other causes such as problems with the kidneys, adrenal glands or aorta. There are a number of tests that can be done to try and identify the cause of raised blood pressure:
Kidney and adrenal ultrasound Doppler
Blood and urine tests – a 24-hour urine analysis, and specialized blood tests to determine whether a problem with the adrenal gland has caused the high blood pressure. These blood tests are called plasma metanephrines.
CT or MRI scan of the heart and aorta
If there are doubts about how well your blood pressure is being controlled it may be necessary to have a 24-hour blood pressure monitor. This is a portable blood pressure monitor that you wear for 24 hours. The blood pressure cuff that is around your arm inflates every 30 minutes while you go about your day-to-day activities. This provides a more accurate meausure of your blood pressure compared to a one-off recording measured at your doctor’s surgery.
If you have been on a number of different tablets for your blood pressure but you are not able to tolerate these you may require more specialist treatment.