Concern about elevated blood pressure after prior family history.

Q: My systolc BP is in the high 130 range. My doctor is not concerned. This just started. In the past it has always been below 120. My son had an myocardial infarction in his 30’s. My mother had a triple bypass at age 70 and died on the operating table at age 75 while undergoing a re-bypass. I am 68. Do I need further workup? What would you suggest as tests I should have done. I can consult with a cardiologist without a referral from my family doctor. Should I do this?

A: With a systolic blood pressure in the high 130’s you are in the group known as pre-hypertension. Treatment is not recommended until systolic blood pressure is 140 or greater. It sounds like your doctor is treating you appropriately. I assume your doctor has suggested all appropriate lifestyle changes and you have taken the advice. If it would make you feel better to talk to a cardiologist, you should do so. It never hurts to get a second opinion and your family doctor should want you to feel confident about the care you are receiving. Although you don’t need a referral, why don’t you ask for one?

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