Refractory Hypertension

What is Refractory Hypertension?

Refractory Hypertension is a type of hypertension (high blood pressure) which is resistant to treatment, meaning that drugs used to lower blood pressure are ineffective. Refractory hypertensio can cause complications such as stroke, heart attack, aneurysm, and kidney failure.

Risk Factors of Refractory Hypertension

Some of the risk factors associated with refractory hypertension can be linked to lifestyle such as:

  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Poor diet

Signs and Symptoms of Refractory Hypertension

Refractory hypertension may not show any symptoms as its diagnosis is based on blood pressure readings and resistance to treatment.

Diagnosis of Refractory Hypertension

Refractory hypertension is usually diagnosed by monitoring for:

  • Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) over 24 hours or longer
  • Home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM) over 7-14 days
  • Office blood pressure during a typical visit with a health care provider
If these readings reveal that blood pressure is consistently higher than 140/90, and medications are not effective, then refractory hypertension is likely.

Treatment of Refractory Hypertension

Treatment of refractory hypertension usually involves lifestyle changes such as:

  • Reducing salt intake
  • Increased physical activity
  • Reducing stress and getting sufficient sleep
  • Losing weight if obese
  • Reducing alcohol consumption if necessary
  • Quitting smoking if necessary
In addition, medications may be needed such as diuretics, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), or beta blockers. In some cases, surgery may be required to control refractory hypertension.