Outcomes: Extensive data from many randomised, controlled trials have shown the benefit of treating hypertension (HTN). The target blood pressure (BP) for antihypertensive management is systolic < 140 mmHg and diastolic < 90 mmHg, with minimal or no drug side effects. Lower targets are no longer recommended. The reduction of BP in the elderly should be achieved gradually over one month. Co-existent cardiovascular (CV) risk factors should also be controlled.
Benefits: Reduction in risk of stroke, cardiac failure, chronic kidney disease and coronary artery disease.
Recommendations: Correct BP measurement procedure is described. Evaluation of cardiovascular risk factors and recommendations for antihypertensive therapy are stipulated. Lifestyle modification and patient education are cornerstones of management. The major indications, precautions and contra-indications are listed for each antihypertensive drug recommended. Drug therapy for the patient with uncomplicated HTN is either mono- or combination therapy with a low-dose diuretic, calcium channel blocker (CCB) and an ACE inhibitor (ACEI) or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB). Combination therapy should be considered ab initio if the BP is ≥ 160/100 mmHg. In black patients, either a diuretic and/or a CCB is recommended initially because the response rate is better compared to an ACEI. In resistant hypertension, add an alpha-blocker, spironolactone, vasodilator or β-blocker.
Validity: The guideline was developed by the Southern African Hypertension Society 2014©.