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September 2013
September 2013

High Blood Pressure the Silent Killer!
High blood pressure (BP) also called hypertension is extremely common, affecting 1 in 3 adults in the United States. Uncontrolled hypertension contributes significantly to increased risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attack, heart failure, and peripheral vascular disease), stroke and chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Hypertension is defined as blood pressure higher than 140/90mmhg in general but patients with diabetes or older (more than 80 years of age) target for blood pressure are different and should be discussed with a physician on a regular basis.<!–more–>

The kidneys play an important role in controlling your blood pressure; it works by different mechanisms such as retaining salt and water, producing hormones that raise blood pressure, etc.

When kidney disease develops blood pressure becomes more difficult to control and patients have to take added medications. Neurologists are physicians with training in hypertension and have several years of experience in controlling hypertension and dealing with difficult cases.

Blood pressure can increase when patients take certain medications and/or herbs such as:

  • Herbs: Ephedra, ginseng, MA Huang.
  • Illicit: amphetamines, cocaine
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory medications: Ibuprofen, Aleve, Advil, Naprosyn, etc.
  • For psychiatric illness: Buspirone (Buspar), carbamazepine (Tegretol), clozapine (Clozaril), fluoxetine (Prozac), lithium, amitriptyline.
  • Steroids
  • Decongestants, oxymetazoline, many over the counter medications for cold and flu.
  • Diet pills
  • New cancer treatment such as Avastin
  • Energy drinks

If you have told that you have hypertension, here are a few tips to help get it under control:

Ask your provider (Your Doctor) what is your target Blood Pressure.

Measure your Blood Pressure at home, and then take your reading to your Doctor on your next visit. Take your Blood Pressure after sitting for at least 5 minutes, feet on the ground and lean your back in the chair and measure your Blood Pressure with arm cuffs.

If your blood pressure is higher than your target Blood Pressure should be, don’t panic and call your Doctor or there nurse to make changes; don’t wait for the next appointment to make changes.

Do not take over the counter Meds that can raise blood pressure, look at the above list and ask your doctor if you are not sure.

Read the labels of over the counter medications, many of them increases blood pressure ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don’t understand the medication you are buying.

Avoid all energy drinks.

Limit your daily salt intake to less than 2000 mg

Understand your blood pressure medication and side effects before starting. ASK!

Exercise: Click Here

Any physical activity that increases your heart and breathing rates is considered aerobic exercise, including:

  • Household chores, such as mowing the lawn, raking leaves or scrubbing the floor
  • Active sports, such as basketball or tennis
  • Climbing stairs
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Bicycling
  • Swimming

The American Heart Association recommends you get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or a combination of both each week. Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity most days of the week. If you can’t set aside that much time at once, remember that shorter bursts of activity count, too.

You can break up your workout into three 10-minute sessions of aerobic exercise and get the same benefit as one 30-minute session

Listen to your body. Stop your activity right away if you become severely out of breath or dizzy or if you experience chest pain or pressure.

Before you start any exercise programs or lifting weights, make sure you have your doctor’s OK.

Weight loss

Your weight is a balancing act, and calories are part of that equation. When it comes to weight loss, it’s calories that count. Weight loss comes down to burning more calories that you take in. You can do that by reducing extra calories from food and beverages and increasing calories burned through physical activity.

Once you understand that equation, you’re ready to set your weight-loss goals and make a plan for reaching them. Remember, you don’t have to do it alone. Talk to your doctor, family and friends for support. Also, plan smart: Anticipate how you’ll handle situations that challenge your resolve and the inevitable minor setbacks.

But don’t forget the bottom line: Weight loss is a marathon not a sprint; it’s a change in your life style. The key to successful weight loss is a commitment to making permanent changes in your diet and exercise habits

Ask your primary provider to refer you to a hypertension specialist or kidney doctor (nephrologist) if your Blood Pressure is difficult to control especially if you are already on three medications.

Ren-083Fidel Barrantes MD

Clinical Hypertension Specialist

Transplant Nephrologist

Renal Medicine Associates.


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