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Overweight, slightly elevated blood pressure. Family history of hypertension. Do I need treatment?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1968
Answered : 298 Questions
I get annual physicals and my last was in October 2011. Due to a family history of High Blood Pressure, I monitor it daily with an electric BP monitor I purchased at the drug store. Over the last couple of weeks, I have noticed that my BP has been averaging 135/92. It is starting to concern me since I am about 15 pounds over weight for my height and have the family history. Do I need to go see my doctor now, or can I up my excercise and diet to try and lose the weight first. I am 48, 5'10" 195 with a muscular build.
Posted Tue, 8 May 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Andrew Rynne MD 1 hour later
Hi there. Thank you for posting your question here on XXXXXXX

There is no need to go and see your doctors just yet. If you do they will simply tell you to exercise more and watch your weight. We all know that.

At 135/92 your BP is only ever so slightly raised at a certain time of the day. This is what we call a 'snapshot'. It actually tells you very little.

What I would suggest you do is this: Hire a 24 hour BP monitor unit and run this on yourself during a working day. Have the readings professionally analysed. This will tell you two things:

(1) Whether or not you do in fact have true hypertension.
(2) Whether or not your raised BP is stress related.

These are two powerful pieces of information that will inform you as to how best to go forwards. BP medication should be only your choice of last resort.

Here's to your continued good health!
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