Galway University Hospitals leading the way with emerging treatments for resistant hypertension
Croí and Heart Specialists at Galway University Hospital are encouraging people to make a New Year’s Resolution this year to take control of their high blood pressure.
“Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart attacks and stroke. Because there are no obvious symptoms, very often people assume it’s nothing to worry about. However, high blood pressure needs to be treated and managed so as to avoid a serious heart event or a catastrophic stroke,” says Prof. Faisal Sharif, Consultant Cardiologist, Galway University Hospitals.
Startlingly, it is estimated that over half of all adults in Ireland over the age of 45 are living with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. High blood pressure is a sign that the heart and blood vessels are being overworked which in turn increases your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. It can also lead to other conditions such as aneurysm, heart failure, problems with your vision and kidney failure.
Know Your Numbers!
High blood pressure is when your blood pressure readings are consistently more than 140 over 90 over several readings. If you are on a treatment for high blood pressure, the target for most people is to have a blood pressure below 130/80mmHg, particularly if you have had a cardiac event or stroke, have other risk factors, or have diabetes. Taking control of your blood pressure is a major positive step towards reducing your overall risk of having a heart attack or stroke. You can do this by following the medical advice of your doctor, by having regular check-ups, by taking your medication as prescribed and by making positive lifestyle changes in areas such as diet and exercise.
Difficult to Control Hypertension:
There are a number of reasons why sometimes it may be difficult to control your blood pressure. Firstly, about 15-30% of the population who have high blood pressure do not respond to the blood pressure medications. This is known as “Resistant Hypertension”. Secondly, a large number of patients are intolerant of the blood pressure medications with frequent side effects. Inability to take medications can make it very difficult to manage blood pressure.
A team of consultants in Galway, including Prof Faisal Sharif, are now leading the way in treating this problem at the Difficult to Treat Hypertension Clinic, based in Merlin Park Hospital, which assesses patients and investigates the reason for poor blood pressure control. Despite lifestyle changes and medication changes, if the blood pressure remains elevated patients can be referred for medical device based treatment for high blood pressure. One such treatment is known as Renal Denervation (RDN). RDN is a minimally invasive procedure specifically used to treat resistant hypertension. This procedure can be performed with multiple emerging technologies, including radio-frequency, ultrasound, and chemical ablation methods to modify sympathetic nerves in the renal arteries, which decreases blood pressure.
Act now and take control of your high blood pressure. For more information on hypertension, its treatment, and research currently underway at the Medical Device Clinical Trial Unit based at National University of Ireland and the Department of Cardiology, Galway University Hospital Galway, Ireland, visit www.croi.ie/hypertension.