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Essential hypertension: Diagnosis, assessment, and treatment 

Essential hypertension: Diagnosis, assessment, and treatment
Essential hypertension: Diagnosis, assessment, and treatment

Bryan Williams

, and John D. Firth

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date: 25 February 2021

Essential hypertension is invariably symptomless and usually detected by routine screening or opportunistic measurement of blood pressure. However, once a patient has been labelled as ‘hypertensive’ it is not uncommon for them to associate preceding symptoms to their elevated blood pressure. Some patients will claim that they can recognize when their blood pressure is elevated, usually on the basis of symptoms such as plethoric features, palpitations, dizziness, or a feeling of tension. Screening surveys have demonstrated that these symptoms occur no more commonly in untreated hypertensive patients than they do in the normotensive population. However, there are two important caveats to the symptomless nature of essential hypertension: (1) symptoms may develop as a consequence of target organ damage, (2) headache may be a feature of severe hypertension.

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