MAC is involved in clinical trials to investigate problems associated with blood pressure, so as to lower the risk of complications and reduce symptoms. Two key conditions found with blood pressure are high blood pressure (referred to as hypertension) and low blood pressure (known as hypotension).
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Roughly a third of adults in the U.K. will have high blood pressure. Unfortunately, if left untreated it can lead to an increase risk of a heart attack and stroke and long term kidney damage. It can also cause changes to the back of the eye. What is difficult about this condition is that it rarely causes symptoms and the only way to find out if you have it is to have your blood pressure taken.
When you have your blood pressure taken you get 2 numbers a systolic (the higher number) and a diastolic (the lower number). Hypertension is when these numbers are consistently over 140/90. An increased risk of hypertension can be associated with the following:
- Over the age of 65
- Diet with high levels of salt
- Lack of fruit and vegetables in diet
- Drinking too much alcohol or drinks containing caffeine
- Lack of exercise
- Not having enough sleep
Blood pressure can sometimes be reduced by following a healthy lifestyle, but where this doesn’t work medication can be used to help control the blood pressure. Even reducing you blood pressure by a small amount can significantly decrease your risk of complications. However unfortunately, many of these medications have side effects or do not work alone. MAC is involved in studies with new medications to control blood pressure.
Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)
Low Blood pressure is less common than high blood pressure but can still cause significant impact on patients lives. Traditionally a blood pressure below 90 Systolic (upper reading) and 60 diastolic (lower reading) is a definition of hypotension. However, many patients may have this result and be fine, what is important are the symptoms associated with hypotension.
Symptoms associated with hypotension:
- Fainting (syncope)
Sometimes these symptoms only appear when going from a sitting to standing position and we call this “postural hypotension”. Hypotension can lead to falls and severe injuries. It can have a dramatic impact on a patients quality of life, as they may avoid leaving the house due to fears of the symptoms occurring. Hypotension is more common in the elderly and is associated with some medication use, but it can also occur due to other medical conditions such as diabetes.