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Thu, Dec. 12

Questions to ask if you have high blood pressure

High blood pressure is a serious illness, and is often called a "silent killer" because many people have it but do not know it. Some people do not feel sick at first. Over time, people who do not get treated for high blood pressure can get very sick or even die. High blood pressure can cause:

• Kidney failure

• Stroke

• Blindness

• Heart attacks.

Good news exists, however. People who eat healthy foods, exercise and take their medicines every day can control their blood pressure. And people can take life-saving medicines every day to help control high blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, it is important to understand as much as you can about your condition.

According to the American Heart Association, people with high blood pressure should ask the following questions of their physician or healthcare provider:

• What is my blood pressure reading in numbers?

• What is my goal blood pressure?

• Is my blood pressure under adequate control?

• Is my systolic pressure too high (over 140)?

• What would be a healthy weight for me?

• Is there a diet to help me lose weight (if I need to) and lower my blood pressure?

• Is there a recommended healthy eating plan I should follow to help lower my blood pressure (if I don't need to lose weight)?

• Is it safe for me to start doing regular physical activity?

• What is the name of my blood pressure medication? Is that the brand name or the generic name?

• What are the possible side effects of my medication? (Be sure the doctor knows about any allergies you have and any other medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and dietary supplements.)

• What time of day should I take my blood pressure medicine?

• Should I take my medicine with food?

• Are there any foods, beverages or dietary supplements I should avoid when taking this medicine?

• What should I do if I forget to take my blood pressure medicine at the recommended time? Should I take it as soon as I remember or should I wait until the next dosage is due?

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