Dr. Maryana Tselniker RWJ Medical Associates, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton

Concerned about your health? Experts from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton are ready to answer readers’ questions. Send your questions to askthedoc@rwjuhh.edu

Can high blood pressure be handled by my primary care doctor? Or do I have to see a cardiologist?

If you are concerned about your blood pressure, the best place to start is to make an appointment with your primary care physician. As a part of a general exam, your doctor can check your blood pressure to see if it is abnormally high compared with the standard normal blood pressure.

If your blood pressure is elevated, your primary care doctor can help you manage it by recommending lifestyle changes such as improving your nutrition, or increasing how often you exercise. He or she can also prescribe blood pressure medication if needed.

If your high blood pressure is difficult to manage, there is a chance it could cause more serious medical conditions, including coronary heart disease and stroke. In these cases, you may want to involve a cardiologist in your plan of care. A cardiologist is specially trained in identifying, treating and preventing diseases of the heart and blood vessels.

In these cases, you primary care doctor and cardiologist can work closely together to manage your blood pressure, and any other related conditions to prevent further complications.

Whether you are having your high blood pressure treated by a primary care physician or a cardiologist (or both!), it’s important to remember that you are also a very vital part of your healthcare team.

Blood pressure is manageable and treatable with the right medication, and appropriate lifestyle changes. It is important to treat elevated blood pressure early in order to avoid complications. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, or express your concerns about your blood pressure to your primary care physician.

—Dr. Maryana Tselniker RWJ Medical Associates, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton

This content is intended to encourage a healthy lifestyle. For medical advice and treatment, see a physician. Concerned about your health? Send your questions to askthedoc@rwjuhh.edu