Harlem Word: Dr. Richard Younge on blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar, Part I

Dr. Richard Younge is a family physician at the Herman "Denny" Farrell, Jr., Community Health Center in Washington Heights where he treats patients of all ages and backgrounds. (

Q: How often should a person check their blood pressure and cholesterol?

A: There are varying intervals that somebody should check them. And again it depends on what other conditions someone might have. For example, someone with diabetes should check every time they see their doctor and we probably should be seeing them three or four times a year at least. For somebody who doesn't have diabetes or high blood pressure it would be reasonable to check their blood pressure once a year. Blood pressure is so important and since it doesn't really have any symptoms it can be a silent killer.

Q: Are there any symptoms of high blood pressure that someone might make note of if they don't get regular checkups?

A: There really aren't symptoms of high blood pressure so the only way you can know for sure that your pressure is high is to have it checked. Sometimes I do see people who say, "I know my pressure is high because I have a headache or feel particularly stressed" and I probably believe there is a linkage between the amount of tension or stress in somebody's life and high blood pressure, but you can't really tell whether your blood pressure is above the target level or not based on the symptoms you have. The symptoms really start to come into play when you start getting the symptoms of damage to the heart, kidneys or to the brain. So by that time it's too late for prevention.

Read more from Dr. Younge by clicking the links below:

Harlem Word is a series of interviews with Northern Manhattan health experts, written by HHPC and reviewed by our Health Advisory Board.

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