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What is hypertension?

High blood pressure defined is systolic>140 and/or diastolic >90. You should have 3 readings that are in this range before you make the diagnosis.
Borderline 130-139 and/or 80-89
Normal is 120/70s or less.

What causes hypertension?

Most patients we do not find a cause.  There are a few medical diseases that can cause high blood pressure that are reversible, but they are uncommon.  Genetics can play a significant role as well.

What can increase blood pressure?

  • Excessive salt
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Obesity
  • Stimulant medications like Adderall and Sudafed and caffeine
  • Anti-inflammatory medications in some patients
  • Stress and pain
  • Some antidepressants like Effexor

Why are we concerned about hypertension?

It will increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.  Patients need to be seen every six months.

What should we do once someone has been diagnosed with hypertension?

Recommend that patients avoid the things that increase high blood pressure.   Take their medication daily.  Avoid stress, get regular exercise and lose weight.  Ten pound weight loss can make a big difference.   Patients should monitor their pressure at home, since home readings are more important than going by what the numbers are in the doctor’s office.

How should patients check their blood pressure?

  1. Sit for 5-10 minutes and relax.
  2. Do not cross the feet or legs.
  3. Make sure the arm is supported when the blood pressure is checked.
  4. Take readings at different times of the day.
  5. If the reading seems off, check it again.
  6. Make sure the cuff size is correct. If it is too big the pressure will be lower than what it really is. If it is too small it will be too high.

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