What is the definition of Familial Hypertension?

Familial hypertension (high blood pressure), also known as genetic hypertension, is an inherited condition in which an individual who develops high blood pressure has a family history of close relatives (father, mother, sister, or brother) with high blood pressure that appeared before the age of 60. High blood pressure is defined as 130/80 or higher (normal is 120/80).

What are the symptoms for Familial Hypertension?

Familial hypertension often has no symptoms other than persistent high blood pressure (above 130/80). Rare symptoms of severe familial hypertension may include vision loss, severe headaches, confusion, shortness of breath, chest pain, nosebleeds, and stroke.

What are the current treatments for Familial Hypertension?

Treatment for familial hypertension involves both lifestyle changes and medications. Lifestyle changes for familial hypertension include eating a heart healthy diet, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, lowering sodium intake, regular exercise, losing weight, quitting smoking, managing stress, and limiting alcohol intake. Medications for familial hypertension may include diuretics, such as chlorthalidone, hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide), triamterene (Dyazide, Maxide), or spironolactone (Aldactone); angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such as lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), benazepril (Lotensin), or captopril; angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), such as candesartan (Atacand) or losartan (Cozaar); calcium channel blockers, such as amlodipine (Norvasc) or diltiazem (Cardizem and Tiazac); alpha blockers, such as doxazosin (Cardura) or prazosin (Minipress); alpha-beta blockers, such as acebutolol or atenolol (Tenormin); renin inhibitors, such as aliskiren (Tekturna); vasodilators, such as hydralazine or minoxidil; central-acting agents, such as clonidine (Catapres, Kapvay), guanfacine (Intuniv), or methyldopa. Medications for familial hypertension are usually administered in combinations of two to three of the above drugs. Familial hypertension may be resistant to usual medications for hypertension, for which your physician may try different medications or combinations.

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