High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common condition in which the force of blood pumping through the arteries is consistently higher than normal. High blood pressure increases the risk for a number of serious health disorders, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. It is important to maintain a normal blood pressure.

As many as 9 out of 10 people are diagnosed with some degree of hypertension after the age of 50, but high blood pressure also is becoming increasingly common among children and adolescents. Untreated hypertension affects all the body’s systems and can shorten a person’s life expectancy by up to 20 years.

Here are some questions to ask your doctor about high blood pressure and about how to lower blood pressure. Print this page, mark the questions you would like answered, and bring it with you to your next appointment. The more you know about hypertension, the easier it will be to make informed decisions about prevention, treatment, and lowering blood pressure.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor about High Blood Pressure

  • Does a single high blood pressure reading automatically mean I have hypertension?
  • Why do you suspect that I might have high blood pressure?
  • What do you think might be causing my hypertension?
  • What tests will be used to diagnose my condition?
  • What do these tests involve?
  • How should I prepare for these diagnostic tests and procedures?
  • Can hypertension be treated?
  • Will I be able to achieve lower blood pressure?
  • What treatments are available?
  • What does treatment involve?
  • What is the goal of treatment?
  • Will blood pressure medication be used to treat my high blood pressure? If so, what medications will you prescribe?
  • What are the side effects of this blood pressure medicine?
  • What should I do if I experience severe side effects?

    Telephone number to call:

  • What are the complications of untreated hypertension?
  • What blood pressure symptoms might indicate that my condition is getting worse or causing complications?
  • What should I do if I notice these symptoms? Telephone number to call:
  • What lifestyle changes can help in lowering blood pressure?
  • My child has been diagnosed with hypertension. What does his or her treatment plan involve?
  • Can hypertension be cured?
  • What is the long-term prognosis for people with high blood pressure?
  • Do you recommend any resources for support or further information about hypertension?
  • Do you recommend that I participate in a clinical trial for patients who have high blood pressure? Why or why not?
  • Next appointment:

    Doctor: Date: Time:

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Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 21 Mar 2009

Last Modified: 21 Sep 2015