The most important element in the management of high blood pressure is follow-up care.
1. Check with your health care provider periodically to make sure that your blood pressure is in the recommended range. If it is not, your treatment should be adjusted. In fact, patients with high blood pressure should see their providers at least once per year and more frequently during medication adjustment phases.
2. If you have diabetes or have had a prior heart attack or stroke, your blood pressure control will need to be more stringent to prevent recurrent events. Check with your doctor as to what blood pressure readings you should be aiming for on a consistent basis.
3. With aging and progression of the process of hardening of the arteries, your systolic blood pressure may creep up with time. A treatment that once worked well may no longer work. Your drug dosage may need to be changed or you may be prescribed a new medication.
4. Periodically, at your follow-up visits, you should be screened for damage to the heart, eyes, brain, kidney, and peripheral arteries that may be related to high blood pressure.
5. Follow-up visits are a good time to let your health care provider know about any side effects you are having from your medication. He or she will have suggestions for coping with side effects or may change your treatment.
6. Follow-up visits are a great opportunity for monitoring other associated risk factors, such as high cholesterol and obesity.