b. Hypertension is classified as primary and secondary.
(1) Primary (or essential) HTN has no identifiable cause. Increased
peripheral resistance is the basic cause for the elevated blood pressure, but the cause
of the increased resistance is not understood. Drug therapy is aimed at decreasing the
peripheral resistance, thereby lowering the blood pressure.
(2) Secondary HTN is the result of a specific cause or disease process.
Kidney disease, adrenal tumors, thyrotoxicosis, and preeclampsia are just a few
examples. Therapy is aimed at both treating the elevated pressures and treating the
c. Hypertension is called the "silent killer" because it is often symptom free.
When symptoms do occur, they are often mistakenly associated with other causes.
Symptoms include headache, fatigue, nervousness, irritability, dyspnea, and edema.
d. Continued HTN is damaging to the body. Medical management is aimed at
lowering the blood pressure to alleviate the symptoms and to slow the progression of
damage to the body.
e. Nursing management involves intensive patient education to help the patient
understand the nature of his disease and his role in keeping it under control. The
nursing staff should reinforce the importance of the following:
Decreasing the use of tobacco and stimulants, such as caffeine.
(3) Eliminating table salt and avoiding foods high in sodium, such as pickles,
potato chips, cold cuts, and processed foods.
(4) Controlling serum cholesterol levels by modifying the diet to avoid
Maintaining a weight appropriate to height and body type.
Altering one's lifestyle to minimize stress.
Following a regular exercise program.
1-29. VALVE DISORDERS
a. The function of the heart's valves is to maintain the forward flow of blood from
the atria to the ventricles and from the ventricles into the great vessels.