Controlling high blood pressure — an interview with Dr. Tackabury

Daniel Tackabury, M.D., North Branch

Blue Care Network conducted an interview with Dr. Daniel Tackabury, in North Branch, about how he helps patients with high blood pressure stay healthy.

What do you do to help your patients control their blood pressure?

I provide patient education and have patients come for blood pressure checks. Patients like the idea that they can come in and get a blood pressure check without a copay. It lets them know we do care.

How frequently do you schedule follow-up appointments for patients with high blood pressure?

It depends on how high a patient’s blood pressure is. Sometimes, we check it every couple of days until we get it down. For others, it may be one to two weeks. If it’s borderline high and we’re starting a patient on medication, we might check monthly.

How have you responded to the new blood pressure guidelines from the American Heart Association?

We are following the older guidelines from the American Academy of Family Physicians until we have a consensus. With the American Heart Association guidelines, a lot more people have borderline high or high blood pressure. I do discuss it with patients if they’re in that range and we start working on dietary and lifestyle mediations — increasing exercise and quitting smoking for example.

How do you make sure patients are compliant with taking medications or other treatments you recommend for high blood pressure?

I always educate the patient about medications and significant side effects. I advise them that if anything feels different (if they’re lightheaded or dizzy or blood pressure is too low) definitely call us. We always want to know how the patient is feeling. If a patient has to discontinue a certain medication, there are other options. It doesn’t necessarily mean another office visit.

What do you encourage patients to do in between follow-up visits?

We try to get patients to get a home blood pressure cuff and do self-monitoring. If they’re getting a discrepancy, we have them bring in their blood pressure cuff and compare their blood pressure with one we take. If there’s anything questionable or high when staff takes a patient’s blood pressure, I repeat it myself in the office.

How else do you help patients stay on track?

I’m honest with patients about consequences. If blood pressure stays out of control, whether taking medications or not, these are the long-term consequences: kidney disease, heart attack, stroke. I think people respond to that.