These doctors often play a role in diagnosing and treating high blood pressure.
Internist/Family Practice Physician
Internists and family practice physicians are primary care doctors. Internists—also called internal medicine physicians—have training and expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of adult diseases. Family physicians focus on preventing, diagnosing, and treating disease in people of all ages. High blood pressure is often treated by one of these types of doctors.
Adults should have their blood pressure checked at least once every two years. If you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or cardiovascular risk factors, you might be advised to get your blood pressure tested more often. When high blood pressure is diagnosed, it’s crucial to work closely with your doctor to get it under control. This includes regular checkups to monitor how well treatment is working and open communication about any concerns that arise.
Between regularly scheduled checkups, let your doctor know if:
- Your blood pressure goes up and stays higher, as detected by home monitoring
- You have severe or troublesome side effects from medication
Call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately if your blood pressure reaches 180 or above for the systolic pressure (first number) or 110 or above for the diastolic pressure (second number). Along with this extreme spike in blood pressure, you might have other symptoms, such as:
- Severe headache
- Severe anxiety
- Shortness of breath
Many children have a pediatrician for their primary care physician. Pediatricians have special training and experience in the health and diseases of infants, children, and teens. They are often the ones who diagnose and treat high blood pressure when it occurs in this age group.
Cardiologists are specialists with training and expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of heart and blood vessel disease. Individuals with high blood pressure that is especially hard to control may be referred to a cardiologist for treatment. In addition, some people with high blood pressure see a cardiologist for specialized testing to check for heart disease. If heart disease is detected, treatment might be provided by either the primary care physician or a cardiologist, depending on the situation.