Thursday, February 25, 2010

Silent but Deadly!

This week I am reminded again of how often high blood pressure goes unnoticed. Many patients come in for other reasons (sore throat, sprained ankle, funny rash) and are surprised to see that their blood pressure is running quite high. Headaches, chest pains and blurred vision can all be signs of high blood pressure, but often do not occur until the pressure is extremely elevated. Often people notice high blood pressure at the dentist's office, but ignore it, thinking that it was only elevated because they were nervous about their visit. While "white coat high blood pressure" certainly exists, do NOT ignore a high reading! Let that alert you to check your pressure several more times under low stress situations, such as when you are doing your routine grocery shopping. Pop your arm in the cuff that is usually set up in the pharmacy section, and check your pressure. If it is running high (top number above 140 or bottom number above 90), I'd suggest you get your own cuff and check pressures daily for a couple weeks. Record these pressures, and take them with you to see YOUR family doctor!
BOTTOM LINE: Don't wait for symptoms to check your blood pressure!


Leigh Ann Otte said...

Thank you for the great—and well-written—advice. How scary to think you could be walking around with something so serious and not even know it—but how wonderful that there's such a simple test to detect it!

Dr. Jill Grimes said...

And as simple as an extra 2 minutes at the grocery store pharmacy! Encourage your friends to check their BPs, too. Thanks for the feedback!