High blood pressure (hypertension) is a condition that develops gradually over a long period of time, in most cases. The volume of blood the heart pumps versus the resistance in the arteries determines the level of blood pressure in the patient, according to the Mayo Clinic. This common condition, if gone untreated, can lead to cardiovascular diseases and may cause congestive heart failure, stroke or other life-threatening conditions. Hypertension is easily diagnosed and you may see a variety of medical professionals for diagnosis or treatment.
Who Can Diagnose High Blood Pressure
Always have your blood pressure checked during each visit to the doctor’s office for a checkup. Your primary-care physician, a mid-level practitioner or a nurse may make the initial diagnosis. A routine checkup usually involves checking blood pressure; further testing may be required as a follow-up, according to Healthline.com.
Lab technologists deal with blood and urine samples from possible hypertension patients and radiologists provide X-rays or imaging services for further diagnosis. Follow-up visits for blood pressure checks may require a nurse, and a nutritionist is likely to become involved to encourage lifestyle changes to control the condition.
Types Of Doctors
Depending on the circumstances and severity of your case, you should seek out the proper specialists to help you with your hypertension treatment. For most people the family physician is the person to initially see for blood pressure concerns. This family-medicine specialist is usually your regular primary-care physician who you see regularly for all sorts of illnesses. Many insurance plans require you to be diagnosed at this level and be referred to a specialist if one is needed, according to Healthline.com.
A nurse practitioner (NP) is a nurse with a degree in advanced practice nursing. The NP may work with a cardiologist, in a family practice or in other settings, and is able to diagnose, treat and manage diseases including hypertension. The NP may prescribe you medicine, order tests and perform certain procedures.
A Cardiologist specializes in cardiovascular disease medicine, a subspecialty of internal medicine. This kind of doctor is an expert in treating all types of cardiovascular disease, including that related to hypertension. This is the doctor you will likely be referred to by your family physician or NP in more severe cases.
When To See A Doctor
See a doctor annually for a checkup to make sure you do not have high blood pressure or other conditions that require attention.
Call your doctor and schedule an appointment for additional checkups if your blood pressure has been high, you have a family history of hypertension, heart disease or diabetes, or if you have put on significant weight. Additionally, medical attention may be required immediately if you are currently being treated for hypertension and you experience symptoms such as lightheadedness, fatigue, shortness of breath, headaches, excessive sweating, vision problems or confusion. This could be a sign of serious side effects from your condition or medication, according to the Cleveland Clinic.