High Blood Pressure

In a 2016 Harvard Health Minute, host Dr. Terry Schrader was talking with Dr. Naomi Fisher, Harvard associate professor and hypertension specialist about high blood pressure.

She asked the question, “Why is it so difficult for some people to hear a diagnosis of high blood pressure?”

There may be several reasons. First and most obvious is that it's easy to accept a diagnosis if there are symptoms, and hypertension generally has none. So, if you walk into a doctor's office and you have a cough, and you have a fever, and the doctor tells you that you have pneumonia, you get it. With high blood pressure there are generally no symptoms and it's a serious diagnosis. Another reason is because of the potential serious nature of the side effects and the damage that can occur.

But the important message is that you can prevent a lot of the side effects and even reverse damage if you take action.

Unless the blood pressure is so high you need to start with medications right away, here’s what you can do:

·        losing weight

·        more exercise

·        stop smoking

·        reduce your alcohol  

·        reduce stress

So, initial treatment recommendations could include initiating in a healthy diet, a healthy lifestyle, reducing salt, trying to reduce stress. Hypertension can occur at any age, although age is one of the biggest risk factors. As we age, our risk of high blood pressure increases, but people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s can be susceptible. We have seen huge differences in the life, in health and in the life expectancy of patients when they are motivated to make these changes.

One in three Americans has high blood pressure. Rather than be fear or disbelief, facing a diagnosis means you can take it on, you can control it, and with that you can control your risk and live a happy and healthy life. Listen to your doctor. Ask questions! Take care of yourself.

Thanks for reading.

-Dr. Joe