Cardiology

Widely used blood pressure drugs might put heart at risk

Drugs based on a molecule called dihydropyridine are commonly prescribed by doctors to treat high blood pressure and angina, a chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. However, there's a chance that these same ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Protein misfolding as a risk marker for Alzheimer's disease

In symptom-free individuals, the detection of misfolded amyloid-β protein in the blood indicates a considerably higher risk of Alzheimer's disease—up to 14 years before a clinical diagnosis is made. Amyloid-β folding ...

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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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