Talking to Your Doctor About Hypertension
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with hypertension. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What is my blood pressure?
- How high is my blood pressure?
- Do I have hypertension?
- Is my blood pressure high enough to require treatment?
- Does my blood pressure increase my risk for other conditions?
About Your Risk of Developing Hypertension
- Based on my medical history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk for high blood pressure?
- How can I prevent high blood pressure?
About Treatment Options
- What medications are available to help me?
- What are the benefits/side effects of these medications?
- Will these medications interact with other medications, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements I am already taking for other conditions?
- What time of day should I take my blood pressure medications?
- What should I do if I forget to take a dose?
- Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that I should consider?
About Lifestyle Changes
- Should I engage in exercise?
- What type of exercise is best?
- How much should I be exercising?
- How do I get started with an exercise program?
- Are there dietary changes I should make? How do I go about it?
- Can you refer me to a registered dietitian?
- Should I stop drinking alcohol?
- How can I find help to quit smoking?
- Do I need to lose weight? If so, how much?
- Should I check my blood pressure at home? How do I go about it?
About Your Treatment Goals
- At what level do you want to maintain my blood pressure?
- How do I know if my blood pressure is staying within healthy limits?
- How often should I have my blood pressure checked by a doctor?
High blood pressure. American Heart Association website. Available at:
. Accessed June 18, 2009.
High blood pressure. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at:
. Updated November 2008. Accessed June 18, 2009.