The Management of Hypertension in the Overweight and Obese Patient
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The management of hypertension in the overweight and obese patient is a frequently encountered but under investigated clinical problem. The conventional management of such patients involves weight reduction with dietary therapy or a combined approach with dietary and anti-obesity drug therapy. However, long-term weight reduction, which is necessary to sustain blood pressure (BP) control, is not feasible in over 80% of patients. Anti-obesity therapy with orlistat has inconsistent effects on BP and may benefit only patients who have uncontrolled or non-medicated hypertension. Anti-obesity therapy with sibutramine may be associated with a modest worsening of BP control. Consequently, antihypertensive drug therapy is often required to supplement a weight reduction programme, and also in patients with severe hypertension or hypertension-associated end-organ damage. Treatment with a thiazide diuretic should be considered as first-line antihypertensive drug therapy in overweight and obese patients. ACE inhibitors or non-dihydropyridine calcium channel antagonists are reasonable alternatives where clinically indicated, or they can be used in combination with a thiazide diuretic if treatment with the diuretic alone is insufficient. If such treatment is inadequate for BP control, the addition or substitution of an alpha- or beta-adrenoceptor antagonist may be considered, although the latter can be associated with weight gain. Concurrent disease is an important determinant of first-line and supplementary antihypertensive drug therapy. Additional studies are needed to determine the long-term (>1 year) efficacy and safety of antihypertensive and anti-obesity management strategies in the overweight and obese hypertensive patient.
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