Case Study #3: Hypertension (HTN)
Unit 6 Capstone Project: Hypertension
May 3, 2014
Most labs nowadays perform a battery of tests on a blood sample sometimes that includes things such as a blood count (which shows whether you're anemic), tests of liver and kidney function, blood sugar (a measure of diabetes), and electrolytes (most importantly the concentrations of sodium and potassium in the blood). Both sodium and potassium play an important role in the regulation of blood pressure. However, the concentration of sodium in the blood is no indication of whether you are eating a high or low sodium diet. To evaluate that, a 24-hour urine collection is needed. A low blood potassium level may be a clue to a rare cause of hypertension from a small and benign (not cancerous) tumor of the adrenal gland, but much more commonly occurs as a side effect from a class of blood pressure-lowering medications called diuretics. The cholesterol measurement actually includes three components: cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides. A urine specimen will also be checked, particularly for protein (an indicator of kidney disease) and sugar.
Some of the medications for the treatment of hypertension are as follows:
Diuretics are sometimes called "water pills" because they work in the kidney and flush excess water and sodium from the body.
Beta-blockers reduce nerve impulses to the heart and blood vessels. This makes the heart beat slower and with less force. Blood pressure drops and the heart works less hard.
Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors prevent the formation of a hormone called angiotensin II, which normally causes blood vessels to narrow. The ACE inhibitors cause the vessels to relax and blood pressure goes down.
Angiotensin antagonists shield blood vessels from angiotensin II. As a result, the vessels become wider and blood pressure goes...