Tag Archives: healthy


Controlling High Blood Pressure

Frankie Hoover, PA-C
Novant Health Lexington Primary Care

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. It is important to control high blood pressure because it increases the risk of stroke.

“High blood pressure is the one of the most important preventable risk factors for stroke,” says Frankie Hoover, a Physician Assistant with Novant Health Lexington Primary Care. “The higher the blood pressure, the higher the risk for a possible stroke and other health consequences.”

Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. In people who do not have diabetes or kidney disease, treatment for high blood pressure is usually started when three separate blood pressure readings show readings of 140 or higher for systolic blood pressure (top number) or 90 or higher for diastolic blood pressure (bottom number).

“If you are found to have high blood pressure by your healthcare provider,” comments Hoover, “he/she may first recommend lifestyle changes such as losing weight, improving your diet, and increasing your exercise. If these lifestyle changes don’t lower your blood pressure, then medication may be necessary.”

Many medications are available to treat high blood pressure. Your healthcare provider may start you on one medication or a combination of medications to control your blood pressure. Once you begin taking blood pressure medication, you may have to continue taking it for a long time, perhaps even for the rest of your life.

“Unfortunately, some people with high blood pressure stop taking their medication,” says Hoover. “If their blood pressure returns to normal on medication, they may feel they no longer need the medication. But normal blood pressure means the medication is doing its job. Halting medication will allow blood pressure to rise again, putting them at risk for stroke and other complications of hypertension.”

Reasons people frequently give for stopping medication:
• Unpleasant side effects, such as dizziness, fatigue, or cough
• Cost of the medication
• Lack of information about hypertension and how important it is to control

“If you experience unpleasant side effects, it is important to discuss them with your healthcare provider,” encourages Hoover. “Your provider may be able to switch you to a different medication, as there are many different classes of antihypertensive medications to choose from. The goal is to find medication(s) with few, if any side effects.”

“If the cost of the medication is a concern, your doctor may be able to prescribe an effective but less expensive alternative,” says Hoover. If you have questions about high blood pressure and its treatment, talk to your healthcare provider.

Here are some tips on how to remember to take your blood pressure medicine:
• Take it at same time each day.
• Take it with meals or with daily activities like brushing your teeth.
• Use a pill box marked with the days of the week.
• Keep a medication calendar near your medicine and mark off when you’ve taken each dose.
• Post a reminder note where you’ll see it or set a daily alarm on your phone.

For more information, visit nhlexingtonprimarycare.org or call Novant Health Lexington Primary Care at (336) 248-8692.

Woman with tissue and hot drink

Fighting Flu the Old Fashioned Way

Fighting Flu the old fashioned way
Novant Health Lexington Primary Care
Tiffany Cox, PA –C

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness that affects millions of people in the United States each year. Although individuals can best protect themselves against influenza by getting vaccinated, practicing good health habits will be more important than ever in helping to fight the flu.

Flu spreads from person to person most easily through coughing and sneezing. In fact, infected respiratory droplets can travel up to three feet through the air. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the influenza virus can also survive on surfaces such as books, doorknobs and computer keyboards for up to eight hours. And adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before experiencing symptoms and up to seven days after getting sick, making it possible for them to pass the flu to others without even knowing it.

But there are ways to avoid getting sick:

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick as well.
• If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you have the flu to help prevent others from getting sick.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water to dislodge and remove flu-causing germs. If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers will also kill the germs that cause the flu.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then inadvertently touches his or her face.
• Practice health habits. By getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing stress, drinking plenty of fluids and eating nutritious food, it is possible to stay healthy during the flu season and all year long.

These healthy habits are beneficial no matter what type of illness you may encounter. However, while the flu is highly contagious, it is important to remember that not every cough or sneeze indicates that the flu is on its way.

Unlike colds, which come on slowly and usually result in a sore throat and cough, the flu attacks quickly and causes extreme bodily exhaustion. Here are some common flu symptoms to be on the watch for:

Fever Muscle aches
Headache Loss of appetite
Extreme tiredness Chills
Runny or stuffy nose

Left untreated, the flu can lead to some serious complications, including pneumonia, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor for your flu shot or visit one of the many flu clinics held throughout the community. For more information, please visit nhlexingtoprimarcare.org or noflu.org.