Tashko reminds patients that medication adherence is essential because data over the last 50 years proves that lowering blood pressure reduces the likelihood of cardiovascular illness, kidney disease, heart failure, stroke and myocardial infarction. He also emphasizes that uncontrolled blood pressure increases the risk of death from heart attack or stroke.
Older patients with memory problems often struggle the most, says Tashko, so he takes the time to help these patients organize and identify their pills based on color and shape. He also encourages patients to bring a friend or family member with them to the appointment who can help keep them on track with their medication regimen.
Focus on diet and exercise
Physicians may also see a boost in their MIPS score by helping patients lose weight and eat healthily. Kahn says many of her patients have hypertension due to obesity, which is why she tries to focus not only on blood pressure self-monitoring but also on weight loss. Talking with a patient about his or her body mass index (BMI)—and what they can do to change it—often inspires change. Using BMI is helpful because it serves as an objective criterion, she says.
Be prepared to talk with patients about what foods can help lower their blood pressure—and what foods patients with hypertension should avoid, says Lewis. Another option is to refer patients to a dietician. When patients do lose weight, it’s important to praise them, Lewis says, adding, “Support them in their endeavors.”