Diagnosing high blood pressure

If you or someone you know suspects they have high blood pressure then the next step is to have it checked at your GP’s surgery.

It is important to do this as high blood pressure does not usually present with any symptoms which is why it can go undiagnosed for several years. Plus high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, strokes, kidney failure etc…

A few people do experience symptoms such as headaches, double vision and nosebleeds but these are rare and usually as a result of a sudden rise in blood pressure.

Your blood pressure can be measured using the traditional arm cuff and thermometer but there are other methods for doing so which are discussed further in this section.

They include:

These all discuss these various tests in more detail. These tests can be carried out at your GP’s surgery or at home.

Importance of checking your blood pressure

However, many people are unaware that they have high blood pressure so it is a good idea to have it checked on a regular basis. Do this even if you are in good health, don’t smoke and take exercise, especially if you are 40 and above.

Prevention is better than cure.

High blood pressure can be controlled but if treatment is stopped it will rise again. So, you need to monitor it on a regular basis. You may also have to make a few lifestyle changes as well.

But before we discuss treatment options the first thing to do is to confirm a diagnosis of high blood pressure. Your GP will perform this, and may carry out additional tests such as a blood test, urine test etc.

The reason for this is that he/she can check to see if there has been any damage to other areas of your body as a result of your high blood pressure.

Whatever test or tests you undergo, the aim is for your GP to plan a suitable treatment programme for you which will include medication plus a few lifestyle changes.

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