The 10 Stages You Go Through When You Get Hypertension


When you get hypertension, it can be scary and confusing. Even though you have a doctor who can help you through it all, it’s nice to know what stage of the process you’re in. The stages include:

Stage 1: What’s hypertension?

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common condition that affects nearly one in three adults. The good news is that it can usually be treated by making lifestyle changes and taking medication.

The symptoms of hypertension include:

  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • dizziness or fainting spells (syncope)
  • chest pain caused by heart disease (angina)

Stage 2: Ooh, that sounds like me.

At this point, you might be thinking: Ooh, that sounds like me. You could have hypertension and not even realize it. That’s why it’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly by a healthcare provider.

Stage 3: Okay, it’s time to find a doctor.

First, you should find a doctor. As with most things in life, finding a good doctor is no small task. You want to make sure that they’re not going to just prescribe drugs and send you on your way; instead, they should be someone who listens to their patients’ concerns and wants the best for them. It’s also important that they are able to explain things well so that you can understand what’s going on with your body and how it affects your overall health.

Finally, make sure that the doctor has experience treating hypertension or other types of heart conditions because some treatments may be different from one patient to another.

Stage 4: Wait, what does this mean?

You’re in Stage 4 when you realize that your blood pressure has been creeping up and up over the years, but you haven’t noticed. You might have also just found out that your blood pressure is elevated, even though it feels fine and hasn’t caused any noticeable symptoms. If this is the case, don’t worry: there are ways to get back on track (and they don’t involve cutting salt). We talked to Dr. Erin Michos of Johns Hopkins University about what hypertension is—and how to manage it better.

Stage 5: Should I be worried?

You should be concerned if you have hypertension. High blood pressure can lead to many serious health problems, including heart disease and stroke. Your doctor will talk with you about the best way to treat your high blood pressure, which may include medications and lifestyle changes such as losing weight or exercising more regularly. If you’re at risk for having pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension, it’s important to take steps now so that your condition doesn’t progress higher up the stages of hypertension. It’s never too late to make a change!

Stage 6: Is my family doctor going to be enough?

You’re seeking help, which is great. But you may find that many family doctors don’t have the necessary training to diagnose or treat hypertension. The truth is, many family doctors are not considered specialists in treating hypertension and for good reason: Family medicine encompasses such a wide range of areas and patients that it would be impossible for one doctor to specialize in every area of practice.

That being said, there are some key things you need to know about your relationship with your family physician when it comes to managing your blood pressure:

  • He or she won’t be able to prescribe medications on their own; he or she will have to refer you out—often times without any consultation with a specialist—for those medications.

Stage 7: How am I supposed to change everything about my life this fast?

It’s never too late to change your lifestyle and start making healthier choices. If you think of it as a process, it’ll be easier to get started. You can’t expect to change your diet overnight or suddenly become a fitness enthusiast if you’re not used to exercising regularly. Start by changing one thing, then add another and another until all those changes build on each other and create an entirely new life for yourself!

Stage 8: Do I have to keep taking these medications forever?

After you’ve been on medications for a while, it’s natural to wonder: can I stop taking them? Can I return to my old life before this whole thing started?

The short answer is yes—but first, let’s talk about what happens when you stop medication. If you take your blood pressure medication away and then start eating fast food and drinking soda every day again (or even if you just go back to your regular diet), then your blood pressure will rise again—and quickly. This can make those high blood pressure symptoms come back with a vengeance! You might feel some of the same side effects that led you to go see your doctor in the first place: headaches, dizziness, blurry vision, fatigue…

Your doctor will talk about this with you during your next visit; if he or she thinks it’s safe for you not to take medication anymore (which is unlikely), they’ll write out an order for how often and how much dose reduction needs to happen over time until eventually being taken off altogether.

Stage 9: Well, this is good. Maybe too good.

In this stage, you are likely to have a few questions: Did I really get better? And if so, what does that mean for my overall health? Will I ever be able to stop taking medication?

This is a good time to reflect on the last few months and consider how your symptoms have changed. If your blood pressure has been high for a while and you’ve noticed some drops in recent weeks, it may be tempting to think that all of your worries are over. But keep in mind that it’s normal not knowing how long these improvements will last or whether they will continue without any change in lifestyle habits.

Stage 10: Time for another checkup!

As a hypertensive, it’s important to stay on top of your health. It’s easy to do so if you follow the 10-step plan and keep up with doctor appointments. Your doctor will help you figure out what works best for you, and can even recommend ways to cope with the symptoms that come along with hypertension. You can’t do this alone!

Getting hypertension can be scary and confusing but your doctor is there to help you through it all.

Getting hypertension can be scary and confusing, but your doctor is there to help you through it all. Here are some things you can do to make the process go smoothly:

  • Ask questions: Your doctor has a lot of information about your condition, but you have to tell them what’s going on with you so they can make an accurate diagnosis. If something feels off or if something doesn’t make sense, don’t be afraid to ask! You’re allowed as many questions as time will allow—and sometimes that means asking for clarification if something seems unclear.
  • Pay attention: It’s also important for patients to pay attention during appointments so that their doctors know what kinds of symptoms they’re experiencing and how serious those symptoms are (or aren’t). It’s easy to zone out while talking with doctors because we all want answers right away when we go in search of medical care—but remember that this isn’t just about getting answers; it’s also about making sure that both parties understand one another so everyone knows exactly what’s happening next.

The next time someone comes into my office complaining about high blood pressure symptoms such as headaches or chest pains I’ll know exactly what stage they’re at based on their own experiences with hypertension diagnosis stages because now I’m equipped with knowledge!


We know that having hypertension can be scary, especially if you’re just starting out. But don’t worry—we have you covered! We hope this article has given you some information on what to expect when it comes to your health journey with hypertension. Not only will it help ease your anxieties about getting treated for high blood pressure but also give you confidence that everything will be okay in the end. Remember, there are many different routes available when trying to lower your blood pressure levels and adjust your lifestyle so that they are more heart-healthy overall.

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