The guidelines for diagnosing someone with Hypertension – also known as High Blood Pressure – have changed several times over the years. The American Heart Association changed these recommendations again this month with calling 130-139/80-89 Stage one – instead of Pre-Hypertension. (If you click on this link you will go to their page for ALOT more information) With this they greatly increased the number of adults who would now be diagnosed with hypertension. Happily they also recommended lifestyle interventions as the first manner of treatment for most people. This typically includes losing weight, decreasing salt and caffeine and alcohol intake, stopping smoking, and increasing exercise. However, for people with known cardiovascular disease, diabetes or chronic kidney disease they recommend starting on medications as well as lifestyle changes – and getting rechecked every month until blood pressure is under control.
Getting rechecked is really important – it is not uncommon for it to take multiple adjustments to get someone’s blood pressure to goal. That is one major advantage of belonging to a direct primary care practice – you don’t have to worry about how to pay for these follow-up visits – as they are included in your monthly membership fee!
I recommend also getting a blood pressure cuff so that you can check your blood pressure on your own a few times a week during this month. I recommend getting an Omron brand automated cuff that goes on your upper arm. Please bring your cuff and your log in to your follow-up visit with me so we can compare your cuff with mine. If you have a HSA or a FSA account please let me know as you may be able to use that money for the cuff if I write you a prescription for a diagnosis of elevated blood pressure.
***Note *** This post, like all my other posts, is for general medical information only and is not to be taken as direct advice. Please consult your personal physician for more information.