1. Medical history: This involves asking the patient about their personal and family history of hypertension, any pre-existing medical conditions, and their lifestyle habits, such as diet, exercise, and smoking. This information helps me identify potential causes and risk factors for the patient's hypertension.
2. Physical examination: I then perform a comprehensive physical exam, which includes checking the patient's blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate, as well as auscultating the heart and lungs. This allows me to identify any signs of target organ damage or other conditions that may be contributing to the patient's hypertension.
3. Diagnostic tests: Depending on the findings from the history and physical examination, I may order appropriate diagnostic tests, such as blood tests to assess kidney function and electrolyte levels, an electrocardiogram (ECG) to evaluate the heart's electrical activity, and a urinalysis to check for proteinuria or other abnormalities. These tests help me determine the severity of the hypertension and guide the treatment plan.