Megan is an Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology Fellow at UCLA Health. Her specialties are medicine, cardiology, and cardiovascular disease.
The points made in this paper emphasize the importance of using the established guidelines as a catalyst for conversation between clinicians and patients regarding prevention, risk reduction, and overall risk profile. These conversations should include shared decision-making and an evaluation of individualized patient-specific circumstances that should be taken into consideration when determining therapeutic interventions. In cases where the risk profile may be uncertain, we often will utilize additional tools to help further stratify the patient, including use of the coronary artery calcium score.2 April 2021
It’s a reflection of the fact that many other factors play a role in treating high blood pressure: weight loss for overweight patients; eating a healthy, low-salt diet; increasing physical activity and starting a structured exercise program; limiting alcohol consumption; reducing stress and stopping smoking. Those kinds of lifestyle changes have been shown in several studies to have a significant decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. A prevention-based, proactive effort needs to be made on the patient and provider front. That includes starting with basic testing after a primary hypertension diagnosis. I’ll order a complete blood count, metabolic panel, blood glucose count, cholesterol test, thyroid check, a urinalysis and an EKG.2 April 2021