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Hypertension, Ambulatory Care

Hypertension

is high blood pressure (BP). Your BP is the force of your blood moving against the walls of your arteries. Hypertension is a BP of 140/90 or higher. Hypertension causes your BP to get so high that your heart has to work much harder than normal. This can cause damage to your heart.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness or weakness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Nosebleeds

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Severe headache or vision loss
  • Weakness in an arm or leg
  • Confusion or difficulty speaking
  • Discomfort in your chest that feels like squeezing, pressure, fullness, or pain
  • Suddenly feeling lightheaded or trouble breathing
  • Pain or discomfort in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm

Treatment for hypertension

may include medicine to lower your BP. You may also need to make lifestyle changes. Take your medicine exactly as directed.

Manage hypertension:

  • Take your BP at home. Sit and rest for 5 minutes before you take your BP. Extend your arm and support it on a flat surface. Your arm should be at the same level as your heart. Follow the directions that came with your BP monitor. If possible, take at least 2 BP readings each time. Take your BP at least twice a day at the same times each day, such as morning and evening. Keep a log of your BP readings and bring it to your follow-up visits.

  • Eat less sodium (salt). Do not add sodium to your food. Limit foods that are high in sodium, such as canned foods, potato chips, and cold cuts. Your healthcare provider may suggest that you follow the DASH Eating Plan. The plan is low in sodium, unhealthy fats, and total fat. It is high in potassium, calcium, and fiber.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise at least 30 minutes per day, on most days of the week. This will help decrease your BP. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you.
  • Limit alcohol. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day. Men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.
  • Do not smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking can increase your BP. Smoking also worsens other health conditions you may have that can increase your risk for hypertension. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help quitting.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need to return to have your BP checked and to have other lab tests done. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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