Q:
Why can’t doctors explain to their patients why they have high blood pressure, especially when all their medical tests return normal?

A:
Doctors do tests to see if you have a type of blood pressure that is caused by another medical problem. When all the tests come back normal the diagnosis is primary hypertension.  It can also be called essential or idiopathic hypertension.  This is the most common type of high blood pressure.  It is impossible for a doctor to explain to someone why they developed this problem because the exact cause is not known.  There are things you can do to help prevent getting primary hypertension. Maintain a normal weight.  Have a regular exercise program.  Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. The one thing you cannot change is your biologic parents.  However, just because everyone in your family has high blood pressure does not mean you will get it too.  You are just at a higher risk and need to therefore; work a little harder at having a healthy lifestyle.

High blood pressure does not have any symptoms until late in the course of the disease.  This is why screening is important. If you do not see a doctor often you might want to check out your blood pressure at a pharmacy. Many pharmacies have machines that automatically take your blood pressure.  Accuracy can vary, but they will give you a good idea of how your blood pressure is running. Also free screenings are often offered at local stores, hospitals, and community centers.