The husband of an elderly woman, who had become incoherent over the past day, called emergency medical services (EMS). When they arrived at the house and asked the woman’s husband for her history, he told them his wife had diabetes and hypertension for many years. Before calling EMS, he had checked her medicines and, based on the number of pills still left in the bottle, he estimated she had not been taking her antihypertensive medication for about 2 weeks. On examination, the EMS team found that she was afebrile, her pulse rate was 112 beats/min, her respirations were 24 breaths/min, and her blood pressure was 230/160 mm Hg. Primary care was started.
Critical thinking Questions
- What might be the results of this patient stopping her antihypertensive medications so abruptly?
- What consequences could a long-term blood pressure of 230/160 mm Hg have for this patient?
- What questions would you ask the patient and her family to help guide ongoing treatment and adherence to the medication regimen?
- What is available to help people take their medication as prescribed? Think of the elderly or people that have short-term memory problems.