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NICE issues new hypertension guidance

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New quality standards for treating hypertension in adults has been issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

One of the main issues of note in the new quality standard is that nurses should take a person-centred approach to dealing with those with the condition.

The quality standard features six statements that when delivered together as part of patient care, allow nurses to improve the effectiveness, quality, safety and experience of care to those with hypertension.

One of the statements is the notion that people with suspected hypertension are offered ambulatory blood pressure monitoring to confirm a diagnosis of hypertension.

Another suggests that people that have been recently diagnosed with hypertension should be tested for organ damage within one month of diagnosis.

NICE also suggests that statin therapy is offered to newly diagnosed hypertension patients with a 10-year cardiovascular disease risk of 20% or higher.

The new guidelines in treating hypertension in adults will hopefully help to cut the number of cases in the UK, with 12 million people currently affected by hypertension. Healthcare professionals need not to be reminded that high blood pressure is a factor in heart disease and other serious conditions - so this guidance could be crucial in improving health and wellbeing.

More than half of the 12 million hypertension sufferers in the UK are aged over 60 and an additional 5.7 million people have the condition but have not yet been diagnosed.

Hypertension diagnosis, treatment and aftercare is one of the most common interventions in primary care, totalling 12% of consultations and £1bn in prescription costs in 2006.

NICE deputy chief executive and director of health and social care Dr Gillian Leng said the new guidance on hypertension treatment standards will improve management of the condition, ensure accurate diagnosis, that treatments are provided and monitored properly and special referrals are made when needed.


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