What to Ask: High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is common in older adults because our blood vessels become less elastic with age. People with high blood pressure usually don't feel sick or experience symptoms. However, left untreated, it can lead to many problems.

Here are questions you can ask your healthcare provider about high blood pressure:

What is high blood pressure?

  • What do the numbers my doctor mentioned mean?
  • Why does high blood pressure matter?
  • What are the bad effects of high blood pressure?
  • What causes high blood pressure?
  • What is my blood pressure?
  • Can I tell if my blood pressure is high?

If my blood pressure is too high, what tests do I need?

  • What will these tests tell me?
  • How often should I have these tests done?
  • How often should I have my blood pressure checked?
  • Should I check my blood pressure myself?
  • How often and when should I check my blood pressure? 
  • When are the best times to check my blood pressure?
  • What numbers would show my blood pressure was well controlled?

Does what I eat and drink affect my blood pressure?

  • Can I control my blood pressure if I change my diet?
  • Is my blood pressure affected by my weight?
  • What is the best kind of exercise to improve my blood pressure?

Does smoking affect blood pressure?

  • Can you help me quit smoking?

Do I need medication as well as a good diet to control my blood pressure?

  • Why do I need more than one medicine to control my blood pressure?
  • What are the side effects of my blood pressure medicines?
  • I feel tired and have no energy since I started my blood pressure medicine. Is there a reason for this? What can be done about it?
  • I feel dizzy when I stand up since I started my blood pressure medicine. I'm afraid I'm going to fall. What should I do about this?
  • I have had difficulty having sex since I started the blood pressure medicine. Why is this? What can be done about it?
  • I take several other prescription medications. Could any of them affect my blood pressure or my blood pressure medicines?
  • Could any of the medicines I buy over-the-counter affect my blood pressure or my blood pressure medicines?
  • Can herbal remedies or alternative therapies affect my blood pressure or my blood pressure medicines?
  • If I take a diuretic, do I need to limit the amount of water that I drink? What are sources of potassium?
  • If my medications are running low, is it safe to cut them in half? 
  • Can I ever stop taking blood pressure medications?

Besides high blood pressure do I have other risk factors for heart attack or stroke?​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​How can I reverse the damage caused by high blood pressure?

What effect does being diabetic have on high blood pressure?