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High blood pressure (hypertension) is a condition that develops gradually over a long period of time, in most cases 1. 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 1. 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.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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.
- Always have your blood pressure checked during each visit to the doctor’s office for a checkup.
- 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
What Is a Biometric Screening?
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.
- Depending on the circumstances and severity of your case, you should seek out the proper specialists to help you with your hypertension treatment.
- 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.
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 1.
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 12. This could be a sign of serious side effects from your condition or medication, according to the Cleveland Clinic 2.
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- Mayo Clinic: High Blood
- Cleveland Clinic: Hypertension--When to Call the Doctor
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High Blood Pressure. Updated May 13, 2019. cdc.gov
- National Guideline Centre (UK). Hypertension in adults: diagnosis and management. London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (UK); 2019 Aug. (NICE Guideline, No. 136.) Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547161/
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High Blood Pressure Signs and Symptoms. Updated July 7, 2014. cdc.gov
- American Heart Association. Understanding Blood Pressure Readings. Updated November 30, 2017. heart.org
- Srivastava A, Sharan S. Prehypertension. [Updated 2020 Jan 23]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538313/
- Naranjo M, Paul M. Malignant Hypertension. [Updated 2019 Nov 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507701/
- Rubin S, Cremer A, Boulestreau R, Rigothier C, Kuntz S, Gosse P. Malignant hypertension: diagnosis, treatment and prognosis with experience from the Bordeaux cohort. J Hypertens. 2019;37(2):316‐324. doi:10.1097/HJH.0000000000001913
- Oparil S, Acelajado MC, Bakris GL, et al. Hypertension. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2018;4:18014. Published 2018 Mar 22. doi:10.1038/nrdp.2018.14
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. Hypertension. Updated January 2019. ghr.nlm.nih.gov
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. High Blood Pressure. Updated May 08, 2020. nhlbi.nih.gov
- Zilbermint M, Hannah-Shmouni F, Stratakis CA. Genetics of Hypertension in African Americans and Others of African Descent. Int J Mol Sci. 2019;20(5):1081. Published 2019 Mar 2. doi:10.3390/ijms20051081
- Kotliar C, Obregón S, Koretzky M, et al. Improved identification of secondary hypertension: use of a systematic protocol. Ann Transl Med. 2018;6(15):293. doi:10.21037/atm.2018.06.25
- Wei FF, Zhang ZY, Huang QF, Staessen JA. Diagnosis and management of resistant hypertension: state of the art. Nat Rev Nephrol. 2018 Apr 26. doi:10.1038/s41581-018-0006-6
- Salazar MR, Espeche WG, Stavile RN et al. Could self-measured office blood pressure be a hypertension screening tool for limited-resources settings?. J Hum Hypertens. 2018 May 1. doi:10.1038/s41371-018-0057-y
- Nguyen Q, Dominguez J, Nguyen L, Gullapalli N. Hypertension management: an update. Am Health Drug Benefits. 2010;3(1):47‐56.
- Wright JM, Musini VM, Gill R. First-line drugs for hypertension. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Apr 18;4:CD001841. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001841.pub3
- Shamsi A PhD, Dehghan Nayeri N PhD, Esmaeili M PhD. Living with Hypertension: A Qualitative Research. Int J Community Based Nurs Midwifery. 2017;5(3):219‐230.
- Khalil H, Zeltser R. Antihypertensive Medications. [Updated 2020 Apr 12]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554579/
Lee Morgan is a fiction writer and journalist. His writing has appeared for more than 15 years in many news publications including the "Tennesseean," the "Tampa Tribune," "West Hawaii Today," the "Honolulu Star Bulletin" and the "Dickson Herald," where he was sports editor. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Middle Tennessee State University.