ZocdocAnswersHow can a doctor determine if I have hypertension?

Question

How can a doctor determine if I have hypertension?

My mom and dad both have hypertension and I?m afraid that I will inherent their condition.

Answer

Hypertension is a term we use to describe high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a very common problem that many people develop especially later in life. In over 90% of cases, we do not know what causes hypertension. In the rest, there is a specific condition (often a kidney condition) that results in the abnormal blood pressure. Having high blood pressure over many years can result in heart disease. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. The two of you can discuss the different causes of hypertension and see if there is a specific cause in your parents that might be passed on to you. In the vast majority of cases, hypertension is not caused by a specific condition. In the office your doctor can take your blood pressure and tell you if your blood pressure is high. Keep in mind that some people have higher blood pressure just in the doctor's office because of stress of being with the doctor. If you have a high reading, then your doctor will likely ask you to take your blood pressure at home when you are relaxed to see if it stays high there as well. In either case, you can discuss the things you can do to help improve your blood pressure such as eating a low salt diet exercising regularly.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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