Stubborn high blood pressure may require a specialist
Dear Dr. Roach • I am a 62-year-old white, petite female who has suffered with hypertension since age 33. I have never been the slightest overweight, never drink alcohol and have never used drugs or smoked. I try to exercise every day. Some days, I have migraines, and I believe it is from the high blood pressure. My family has no history of HBP. I am not a diabetic.
Yesterday, at the doctor’s office, my blood pressure was 172/118 and my pulse was 109. I was shocked. I have been in intensive care several times to get it down. I can’t figure out why it has such erratic behavior. It continues to be up even on strong medications. I am currently on four medications, and yesterday my doctor added another. After a couple of years, I have had to change the medications because they seem to quit working.
Are there new drugs for HBP? Is there something I’m not doing that I should or shouldn’t do? I am very fearful of a stroke or heart attack. I have had every test there is to find the cause. Nothing showed up. — M.S.
Answer • Most of the time, we are unable to figure out why a person has elevated blood pressure. Less than 5 percent of the time, after a careful look, we can find one of the “secondary” causes of hypertension whose treatment can reverse HBP.
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