Tampa-area member manages high blood pressure
Joe Haynes of Seminole, Fla., says his diagnosis with high blood pressure about three years ago took him by surprise. Then 45, his numbers reached about 150/90 after he took on additional management responsibilities. “I think a lot of it is due to job stress,” says Haynes, who’s a hospital pharmacist.
But with lifestyle changes and medication prescribed by Dr. Donald Collins, a highly rated family practice physician at East Bay Medical Center in Largo, Fla., Haynes’ blood pressure now hovers around a safe 115/80. In addition to one generic drug costing him about 65 cents monthly, with insurance covering the rest, he sees Collins about every six months, with visit copays running $25.
Communication is critical to managing high blood pressure, which requires ongoing monitoring and treatment, says Dr. Robert Sanchez, director of non-invasive cardiology at highly rated Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg. Though he doesn’t treat Haynes, Sanchez sees many hypertensive patients and stresses the importance of teaming up with a trusted provider. "You need someone you can relate to, [a doctor] willing to listen [who] you feel comfortable asking questions,” he says.
Besides the patient-provider partnership, Haynes says a position change at work allowed him to dump the most stressful managerial part of his job. Also, he now rides a bike about 50 to 75 miles each week, which helps further lower his blood pressure and stress levels.
“This just kind of brought the mortality and longevity issue to the forefront,” Haynes says of his hypertension diagnosis. “I wanted to make sure I was around for my kids, to see them grow up, and to see my grandkids.”