My name is Sanjay Gupta and I am a consultant in York. Today I wanted to do a little video on the subject of blood pressure.

If there is one thing that causes a ton of anxiety, it is the mention of high blood pressure.

A common scenario, for example, is that the patient goes to see his doctor for a routine visit or a completely unrelated complaint and the first thing the doctor or the practice nurse will do is measure the patient’s blood pressure.

Then the doctor will shake his head, and say the words ‘your blood pressure is a bit high today’. You had better come back again and in a week and if it is again high we should consider giving you some tablets.

The poor patient is left feeling immediately worried and goes home to consult Dr Google and everywhere he looks there are these horror stories of how high blood pressure can cause strokes and heart attacks and kidney failure.

When the poor terrified patient goes back for his repeat blood pressure measurement, he is already so anxious and unsurprisingly his blood pressure measures high which triggers more anxiety and the prospect of a lifetime on medications.

This video is for that patient and my aim is to help that patient understand and demystify the concept of blood pressure by asking the doctor 3 important questions before contemplating medications.

As I see it, there are only 2 reasons, the blood pressure numbers are important:

1) The number is a symptom of something else in which case the aim should be to identify the underlying problem and treat it rather than make the numbers look prettier by giving tablets

2) The number by itself is causing the patient some form of harm in which case it does make sense to reduce the number.

It is also true to say that we are all different and therefore it doesn’t seem logical to use a single set of values to define everyone by saying that anyone with a blood pressure above 140/90 has high blood pressure. Surely what we want to know is whether the blood pressure is high for that individual. So instead of asking “is my blood pressure high?’, What we really want to know is ‘my blood pressure high for me?’ So here are 3 questions you want your doctor to answer for you before you start worrying about your blood pressure