High Blood Pressure Information

Most people with high blood pressure have “essential hypertension”, which means they either inherited the disorder, or somehow developed it over time without a clear cause.  When we first discover high blood pressure, we want to test to look for other causes of the condition and to determine if there appears to be damage from high blood pressure.  High blood pressure is the leading cause of strokes and can cause serious heart damage, blindness and kidney disease.

All patients with high blood pressure should learn how they can improve their blood pressure themselves.  Whether or not you need medication, self-management is important for long term control and to prevent complications.  Learn about the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).  Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes (walking is great and works well for helping blood pressure).

Blood pressure goals can vary depending on other conditions, but all patients should work to achieve a blood pressure under 135/85.  Normal is 120/80, and patients with diabetes or heart disease should aim for this or lower. 

Most providers will ask patients with high blood pressure to check in twice a year.  Know how your blood pressure is doing between visits by checking it yourself.  A home cuff or supermarket cuffs are usually okay.  If you are uncertain of the accuracy of either of these, compare with a reading in our office.  You can stop in our lab for a blood pressure check anytime.  It is best to sit and relax for a few minutes before taking the reading.  When you have a blood pressure check with your provider, please have at least three recent readings to review with us prior to the visit.