Debra Wood, RN
is often diagnosed during a routine visit to your doctor. Blood pressure is measured using a cuff around your arm and a device called a sphygmomanometer. You may be asked to sit quietly for 5 minutes before checking your blood pressure.
For most people, it takes more than 1 high blood pressure reading to diagnose high blood pressure. If your blood pressure reading is high, a second measurement will be done a few minutes later. If your blood pressure is still high, you will probably be asked to come back for repeat blood pressure checks. High blood pressure diagnosis will be made when you have readings over 140/90 mmHg during 3 separate visits.
Sometimes people become anxious at the doctor's office. This may result in a higher than normal blood pressure reading. You may be asked to measure your blood pressure at home or in another location.
In some cases, you may be asked to wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. This device measures your blood pressure regularly throughout the day as you go about your activities. It is usually worn for 24 hours, even while sleeping.
How high blood pressure is diagnosed.
American Heart Association
website. Available at:
Updated September 16, 2016. Accessed September 20, 2016.
How is high blood pressure diagnosed? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
website. Available at:
Updated September 10, 2015. Accessed September 20, 2016.
Hypertension. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115345/Hypertension. Updated August 29, 2016. Accessed September 20, 2016.
Hypertension diagnosis and treatment (guideline). Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement website. Available at:
https://www.icsi.org/guidelines__more/catalog_guidelines_and_more/catalog_guidelines/catalog_cardiovascular_guidelines/hypertension. Updated November 2014. Accessed September 20, 2016.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
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