Lege Artis Medicinae

[TREATMENT OF HYPERTENSION - RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PRACTICE]

PÁLL Dénes

DECEMBER 16, 2006

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2006;16(12)

[Hypertension is one of the most common diseases with a prevalence of over 25%. Despite of the availability of modern therapeutic options, the proportion of well-controlled patients is low. Before starting the treatment of patients with hypertension, it is essential to assess cardiovascular risk factors, co-morbidities and damages to target organs, in addition to repeated blood pressure measurements. The author first reviews the non-pharmacological treatment options of hypertension, then summarizes the most important characteristics of first-line antihypertensive agents (diuretics, beta-receptor blockers, calcium channel antagonists, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers). Considering the complex pathomechanism of essential hypertension, the author details the advantages and options of combined antihypertensive therapy, touching on the combinations recommended in special conditions. The metabolic effects and side-effects of antihypertensive agents, which have recently gained increased significance, are also discussed. Modern hypertension care is aimed at maximally decreasing cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, and improving the patient's quality of life. Maximum decrease of cardiovascular risk not only involves proper blood pressure control, but also aggressive fight against other risk factors (e.g., diabetes, dyslipidaemia, smoking) and treatment of target organ damages and comorbidities.]

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[An increasing number of studies suggests that the effects of vitamin D is not limited to the regulation of calcium homeostasis, but it is also involved in several other physiologic processes. Vitamin D receptors are present on the surface and in the nucleus of most cells. Vitamin D as a steroid hormone has genomic and non-genomic effects. Vitamin D deficiency is an important problem worldwide, and so is in Hungary. Vitamin D promotes bone formation and mineralization and decreases the rate of bone absorption. Its extraskeletal effects include antitumour, muscle strength increasing, antiinflammatory, blood pressure lowering and insulin secretion increasing activites.]

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[Gastro-oesophageal reflux that occur at night has special clinical features and thus require extra attention. During sleep most anti-reflux mechanisms diminish, which results in prolonged contact between gastric acid and oesophageal mucosa compared to reflux during the day. Nighttime reflux symptoms adversely affect quality of life, vitality, physical and mental health. A further important consequence is the potential exacerbation of respiratory disorders such as asthma and sleep apnea. There is increasing interest in the association between nocturnal reflux and certain extra-oesophageal symptoms, including reflux laryngitis and chronic cough. An increased risk of erosive damage and adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus are also observed among patients who report nocturnal reflux symptoms. The primary goal of treatment is to improve quality of life and reduce the risk of complications by decreasing the time of acid contact with oesophageal mucosa. Nighttime reflux symptoms are much more difficult to control than daytime symptoms. Treatment guidelines generally recommend lifestyle changes as the initial approach in managing nocturnal symptoms, however, this is successful in only a small proportion of patients. Evidence-based reviews and meta-analyses favour the use of proton pump inhibitors in the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and reflux-oesophagitis. Proton pump inhibitors are the most efficient acid-suppressing agents and thus diminish the harmful effect of acidic gastric reflux on the oesophageal mucosa. In addition, by decreasing the volume of gastric acid, they reduce the tendency to reflux.]

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[While severe asthma associated with high morbidity affects a relatively small proportion of all patients with asthma, it requires special attention and innovative treatment approaches. Although asthma is by definition characterized by reversible airflow obstruction, the obstruction becomes fixed to some extent and refractory to corticosteroids with the progression of the disease. The underlying change in this phenotype is airway wall remodelling. In allergic asthmatic patients who remain symptomatic despite highdose inhaled corticosteroid therapy, blockade of IgE with omalizumab confers appreciable clinical benefit. Chronic severe asthma is also accompanied by a marked increase in TNFproduction that might contribute to corticosteroid resistance. In accordance with this, TNF blockade with entanercept has been shown to improve asthma controll and at the same time to reduce bronchial hyperresponsiveness. Identification of new susceptibility genes, such as ADAM33, will provide further targets for therapy, which in turn can result in the development of treatment tools that modify the natural course of asthma and reverse the changes associated with airway remodelling, rather than simply suppress inflammation and dilate the airways.]

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