Talking to Your Doctor About Hypertension
Michael Jubinville, MPH
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it's important to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors 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 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?
- How does my blood pressure increase my risk for other conditions?
About Your Risk of Developing Hypertension
- Am I or is anyone in my family at risk for high blood pressure?
- Can I prevent high blood pressure?
About Treatment Options
What medicines are available to help me?
- Are there any side effects with the medicines?
- Will blood pressure medicines interact with other medicines I take?
- What time of day should I take my blood pressure medicines?
- 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
- If I change my lifestyle habits, will I still need to take medicine?
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?
- Should I change my diet?
- Should I meet with a 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 can I tell if blood pressure is rising?
- How will I know if the medication is working?
- Can I check my blood pressure at home or do I have to get it checked by a doctor?
Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Accessed September 15, 2020.
Heart-to-heart: Talking to your doctor.
American Heart Association
website. Available at:
https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/doctor-appointments-questions-to-ask-your-doctor/heart-to-heart-talking-to-your-doctor. Accessed September 15, 2020.
Hypertension. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115345/Hypertension. Accessed September 15, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 11/20/2020