Talk With Your Health Care Provider About High Blood Pressure
Why is high blood pressure dangerous?
How do you get checked for high blood pressure?
What do your blood pressure numbers mean?
What can you do to prevent or control high blood pressure?
What else can you do?
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against your blood vessels. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it is called hypertension ("Hi-pur-TEN-shun"). If it is not controlled, high blood pressure can cause:
Most people with high blood pressure feel healthy and don't have symptoms. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked.
Checking your blood pressure is simple. Your provider places a fabric cuff around your upper arm and pumps it full of air. Your provider then listens to your heartbeat while the air lets out of the cuff.
Follow these steps to help your provider correctly measure your blood pressure:
Blood pressure is measured by two numbers.
The first (or top) number--"systolic"--is the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second (or bottom) number--"diastolic"--is the pressure in your blood vessels between heartbeats.
If your blood pressure is normal, that's great! You should have it rechecked every year or so to be sure it stays within the normal range.
If your blood pressure is pre-high or high, it should be rechecked to determine whether you have hypertension. Ask your provider the following questions:
Always ask your provider what your blood pressure is and write it down. Keep track of your blood pressure numbers with the log at the MyHealtheVet website: http://www.myhealth.va.gov.
Your provider may prescribe medicine to help lower your blood pressure.
Here are some questions to ask your provider:
For more information, please contact your local VA Medical Center or Health Clinic.