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Drugs. 1988;35 Suppl 5:74-9.

Quality of life under antihypertensive treatment.

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Rush-Presbyterian-St Luke's Medical Center, Chicago.


Quality of life is of growing concern in the management of chronic illnesses such as hypertension. This has become increasingly so as mild to moderate primary hypertension, almost always asymptomatic, is treated more aggressively with a variety of agents which lower blood pressure, but are associated with adverse side effects. The short term benefit of treatment of mild high blood pressure is minimal; only sustained long term treatment can hope to offer therapeutic benefit. Assessment of the quality of life is not standardised. Perception of the quality of life as seen by the physician, the patient, and the patient's close relatives may differ widely, and no absolute, objective measurements are available. Recent studies have shown that questionnaires completed by the patient can assess the overall response of the hypertensive patient to the treatment administered. Drugs differ significantly in their effect on the quality of life as perceived by the patient, and so assessment of the quality of life by these new methods offers the promise of selecting drugs with the most favourable effect. This should ensure better compliance with the drug regimen and a greater expectation that long term treatment can be maintained until significant benefit accrues.

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