From Diagnosis and management of hypertension in adults. NICE guideline update 2019
BJGP Feb 2020 by Nicholas R Jones et al.
The last update by NICE was in 2011. The key changes are explained in this article.
High blood pressure is blood pressure over 140/90 if measured in the clinic.
Home measurements can be more reliable due to a natural rise in blood pressure in the clinic setting. Ambulatory monitoring can be done, but it is not always available or tolerated. My comment: The machine can be very uncomfortable and disrupts sleep.
To take your blood pressure at home, take two readings, one minute apart, twice a day for 4 to 7 days. Don’t count the first days readings. Then take the average of the others.
Hypertension is diagnosed if the average of home or ambulatory monitoring is over 135/85.
The BP should be taken standing for those people over 80, who have type two diabetes and if you have postural hypotension. You need to stand for at least a minute before taking the blood pressure and it is best to avoid talking.
A blood pressure difference between the arms of over 15 mmHg is a marker for vascular disease. Thereafter the arm with the highest measurements should be chosen for monitoring.
Urgent admission is needed if the bp is over 180/110.
Target organ damage is assessed with looking at the retina, urine testing, U and E and eGFR, ECG and a cardiovascular risk score such as QRISK. Check up should be annually.
Lifestyle advice should be emphasised as this can result in taking fewer drugs.
People with blood pressures over 140/90 at the clinic or 135/85 who are aged 60 to 80 are currently advised to have treatment for their blood pressure. People over the age of 80 are fine with blood pressure targets lower than 150 systolic.
The treatment target for people with diabetes is now 140 systolic which is now the same as the general population.
The drugs to treat hypertension are:
ACE or ARB if type 2 diabetes, age under 55 or African or Caribbean origin.
The next step is to add a calcium channel blocker or thiazide like diuretic.
The next step is a combination of ACE or ARB, CCB and Thiazide.
If the potassium is less than 4.5, Spironolactone can be added as a next step.
If the potassium is over 4.5 then an alpha or beta blocker.
For all other patients the first step is a CCB or Thiazide.
The next step is an ACE, ARB or Thiazide.
Then any combination of these.
If the potassium is under 4.5 then spironolactone can be added.
If the potassium is over 4.5 then an alpha or beta blocker can be added.