High blood pressure control - Patient Videos



In these videos on high blood pressure control, Ashley Margaret, and Charles talked on camera shortly after they had been diagnosed. You can listen to them here, giving their reactions to their diagnosis and what they are doing to deal with it.

The videos are only a few minutes long but there is plenty to learn from them about achieving high blood pressure control. Have a watch and if you want to make a comment use the scroll bar to the right of the video and you'll get to the comments box.

Lower down the page I have listed some important points to remember about high blood pressure control from each person's story.

(NB: If your video is not playing well, or you prefer to read, there are transcripts at the end of the page.)







Margaret's Story – important points

  • High blood pressure is common in Margaret's family. If it is in yours - recognise the warning sign.
  • Margaret has the good sense to have regular health check ups
  • She has started medication and feels fine. There are too many scare stories about the side effects of drugs used for high blood pressure control – most people who have to take drugs find them perfectly tolerable
  • She goes regularly to have her blood pressure checked – another good habit. She could make life easier by getting her own home monitor though
  • Margaret understands the importance of making lifestyle changes to help your high blood pressure control – even if you are on medication it is still important
  • Margaret says, "Get checked and follow your doctor's orders" - sound advice!

Charles' Story – important points

  • Charles is only 20 – high blood pressure can strike at any age
  • Family history – you don’t have to have a relative with high blood pressure to get it but it is one of the risk factors for high blood pressure. So if you have a relative with high blood pressure make sure you check yours regularly. If you are hypertensive ensure your children and relative know that they should be checked regularly too
  • With more than one member of the family needing high blood pressure control they certainly need a home monitor and it is thanks to this that they quickly picked up that Charles’ pressure was beginning to rise. They all understand the importance of high blood pressure control
  • A phrase used by Charles - ‘Stress on your heart and arteries’ – is an excellent description of why high blood pressure is bad for your health
  • Taking Control – Charles says he wants to get on top of the problem. It’s good to see at this early age he is taking responsibility and knows that high blood pressure control is very much up to what he does. He knows some of the things he needs to do to avoid having to go on medication, for example taking more exercise, losing weight

Ashley’s story –important points

  • Ashley is another very young hypertensive and she also has a history of high blood pressure in the family
  • Ashley has another risk factor – she is African American
  • Stress at work – stress definitely can make hypertension worse and many people understand that stress is not good for you. You don’t hear many people doing anything about it – yet stress reduction is something that can be easily and pleasurably added to the high blood pressure control ‘toolbox’.
  • Exercise – Ashley doesn’t like exercise – ‘I hate going to the gym’ she says. Unfortunately too many people think of exercise as painful, yet you don’t have to go near a gym to get exercise and it can be fun. There are many ways of making sure one is more physically active without discomfort.
  • Salt – Ashley has definitely got the salt message but remember that most of the salt in food does not come from the salt cellar on the table. To effectively reduce salt in the diet you have to be very careful with the foods you eat.


Transcripts



Margaret

My name is Margaret and I come from New Jersey and I suffer from high blood pressure. My family does have a history of high blood pressure - my father had it, my mother had it and two of my children have it.

I went to a doctor for my regular check up and he said my blood pressure was elevated. I tried to use excuses about three or four times, I didn’t take it as a joke about the blood pressure but I told him I was stressed from my job and I was rushing to get to the office and the second and third time I told him the same thing. My doctor told me that if I didn't get onto blood pressure medicine and make some lifestyle changes it could cause a heart attack or stroke so I listened to him and started the medication.

I'm on the blood pressure medicine, I feel good with it. I'm very excited when I go to the doctor and my numbers are very good so I know my blood pressure medicine is helping me and I am trying to make lifestyle changes to ensure that I stay healthy.

Everyone should go to their doctor and get checked for high blood pressure because they do call it the silent killer. You could be walking around having it and not realizing it. So its a good thing to get checked and follow your doctor's orders.


Charles

Hi, my name is Charles, I’m 20, I’m a junior at Rutgers University and I suffer from high blood pressure. Basically high blood pressure is when your blood pressure is really high and puts a lot of stress on your heart and all the arteries. My family has a history of high blood pressure and they wanted me to get my blood pressure taken almost every day or every week.

We have a machine at home that does it and basically they started noticing that my numbers were pretty high. So it’s something you worry about, you know you want to test it this morning seeing ‘is my blood pressure too high this morning? Is this something I have to worry about? Do I have to do more exercise, do I have to put more time in to try to get myself in shape? I always want to try to make sure that I don’t become my grandparents and have to take a pill every day.

My mum is also worried about it. We both try to, you know, go out, we walk more, we talk about it, talk about things we could do - maybe get a dog or a pet so that we can go out and walk the dog or run with the pet sometimes. This summer I am going to try to make more time to go to the park and play basketball.

It’s something that I want to manage and I want to make sure that I keep on top of it, especially as I grow up and get a job, maybe it’s going to be more stress, more blood pressure. I just want to take care of it now before it becomes a bigger problem.

Ashley

Hi, my name is Ashley, I am 22 years old and I was recently diagnosed with hypertension. I guess it kind of started with work and I’d be a little stressed out and then my heart would start beating really fast and abnormally and then I would get a headache a really bad headache and then I would start to feel faint and this happened a few times. It was accidental, I was going for my annual, I was put on a 24 hour ambulatory monitor and my blood pressure skyrocketed to 200. My dad was diagnosed with the same thing at the same age so I guess it was expected. Before I just always thought that maybe I was dehydrated but now I realize it was because of blood pressure. For me, I was wondering about my lifestyle, like ‘can I drink or should I not drink and I love food and what can I not eat and I don’t exercise now I have to do that I hate going to the gym.

What my doctor was trying to get through to me was that you can have a stroke and die, you can have a stroke and die, but it just never really registered because at the end of the day I am 22 years old, what are you talking about? A 22yr old doesn’t get a stroke. So I had to stop… just my eating habits because I love food and now I don’t put salt on anything and I try to drink more water and I haven’t started exercising but I try to live my life and I guess a more healthier lifestyle which is really difficult for me because I’m not used to it.

A lot of people wouldn’t think that at 22 years old they would be diagnosed with hypertension and have such extreme high blood pressure but its actually really common in the African American community and its actually called the silent killer because you have no symptoms and you can randomly get a stroke. Its scary but its manageable. So I’m just kind of taking it day by day.


Summary of key points from the videos on high blood pressure control

  • High blood pressure can strike at any age - you won't know you have it unless you get checked
  • Regular checkups are important if you have a family history or other risk factors such as being of African American descent or overweight
  • Lifestyle changes are the first thing to try for high blood pressure control
  • If you need medication - take it. don't risk getting the complications of high blood pressure - they are far worse than any side effects of medication
  • A home monitor will help with high blood pressure control




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This page was last modified on : April 24, 2011.














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