Medications

Beware probiotics in ICU patients

It's become common for patients in the intensive care unit (ICU), both children and adults, to receive probiotics. Often, they are started at home to counteract diarrhea caused by antibiotics. There is also interest in using ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Chronic adversity dampens dopamine production

People exposed to a lifetime of psychosocial adversity may have an impaired ability to produce the dopamine levels needed for coping with acutely stressful situations.

Psychology & Psychiatry

PTSD linked to increased heart disease risk among female veterans

Female veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have more heart disease risk factors, including obesity, at younger ages than female veterans without PTSD, according to preliminary research to be presented at the ...

Cardiology

Heart disease and cancer risk may be linked

Heart attack survivors may have an increased risk of developing cancer compared to people without cardiovascular disease, according to research to be presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2019—November ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

For older adults, new hepatitis C treatments are safe and effective

Viral hepatitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver. There are three viruses responsible for most cases of the disease: hepatitis A, B, and C. Hepatitis A is typically caused by consuming contaminated food ...

Cardiology

Early menopause may raise the risk of several heart conditions

Women who experience menopause before age 40 are at higher risk for several heart conditions, according to preliminary research to be presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2019—November 16-18 ...

Cardiology

Flu shots help prevent illness, death in heart disease patients

An annual flu vaccination is inexpensive, easy and proven to prevent illness and death in people with heart disease, however, almost 1 in 3 patients skip the flu shot, according to preliminary research to be presented at ...

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Hypertension (HTN) or high blood pressure, sometimes arterial hypertension, is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated. This requires the heart to work harder than normal to circulate blood through the blood vessels. Blood pressure involves two measurements, systolic and diastolic, which depend on whether the heart muscle is contracting (systole) or relaxed (diastole) between beats. Normal blood pressure is at or below 120/80 mmHg. High blood pressure is said to be present if it is persistently at or above 140/90 mmHg.

Hypertension is classified as either primary (essential) hypertension or secondary hypertension; about 90–95% of cases are categorized as "primary hypertension" which means high blood pressure with no obvious underlying medical cause. The remaining 5–10% of cases (secondary hypertension) are caused by other conditions that affect the kidneys, arteries, heart or endocrine system.

Hypertension is a major risk factor for stroke, myocardial infarction (heart attacks), heart failure, aneurysms of the arteries (e.g. aortic aneurysm), peripheral arterial disease and is a cause of chronic kidney disease. Even moderate elevation of arterial blood pressure is associated with a shortened life expectancy. Dietary and lifestyle changes can improve blood pressure control and decrease the risk of associated health complications, although drug treatment is often necessary in patients for whom lifestyle changes prove ineffective or insufficient.

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