When should I have my blood pressure checked and treated?
Blood pressure varies during the day, so to monitor blood pressure it needs to be done in the morning, midday, late afternoon or at night. Normal blood pressure is usually about 120/80 plus or minus 15 on top and plus or minus 10-15 on the bottom. Treating the blood pressure depends on many different factors, including the family history, age of the patient, obesity and other medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, hyperlipidemia and so on. Older people are going to have higher blood pressure in general. Treating blood pressure also needs workup associated with it, to make sure kidney function and thyroid and other labs are checked and addressed if needed.
Who should be checked for sleep apnea?
People who have any difficulty during the night, waking up short of breath or not being able to sleep well, snoring, vivid dreams or nightmares, excessive sleepiness during the day, weight gain, hypertension and hypogonadism, are the people who are candidates to be checked and they can discuss this with their physician and have the workup done. Treating sleep apena is helpful in addressing some of the other medical problems as I mentioned above including the blood pressure, weight gain, fatigue and some other sexual dysfunctions. Sleep apnea also could be associated with depression.
Why do patients with multiple problems need to be seen more than once a year?
Healthy patients can be seen once a year for a physical, this is more important after age 50 or so. The younger people who are healthy, this can be done less frequently. For people who have multiple medical problems, especially diabetes mellitues, uncontrolled hypertension, hyperlipidemia that is not well controlled, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, they need to be seen more frequently than once a year, because usually they are on multiple medications. Effect and outcome of medication treatment needs to be monitored, i.e., to see how good the cholesterol is doing and how good the blood sugars and hemoglobin A1c and other parameters are doing. Meanwhile, being on multiple medications, some of them have adverse effects on kidneys, liver and sometimes other organs, and these need to be monitored too and that is the reason for being seen more than just once a year or doing blood work more than once a year.
The Great Falls Clinic is accepting new patients and physician referrals at the Great FallsClinic SpecialtyCenter, 3000 15th Avenue South. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 406.454.2171.