To measure your blood pressure, the doctor will insert an air-filled strap into your arm, inspect it gradually pumping and removing the air. The doctor uses a device called a sphygmomanometer. Blood pressure is in the units of millimeters of mercury or (mmHg), which includes two values. The first number shows the pressure in your arteries when your heart pumps blood, called systolic pressure. The second number shows the pressure in your arteries when your heart is not pumping blood, which is called diastolic pressure.
This is classified into five major categories.
- Normal blood pressure
- Here is your blood pressure is below 120/80 mmHg
- Your systolic pressure is 120 mmHg to 139 mmHg or if your diastolic blood pressure is 80 mmHg to 89 mmHg, you have pre-hypertension. Generally, this condition worsens over time.
- Stage 1 hypertension
- Your systolic blood pressure may range from 140 mmHg to 159 mmHg, or your diastolic blood pressure is at 90 mmHg to 99 mmHg.
- Stage 2 hypertension
- In this case, your systolic blood pressure is 160 mmHg to 179 mmHg or your diastolic blood pressure is 100 mmHg to 109 mmHg.
- High blood pressure (Stage 3 hypertension)
- Your systolic pressure is 180 mmHg or higher, or the diastolic pressure is 110 mmHg or more
Diagnosing blood pressure
Both blood pressure figuring values are equally important. However, after 60 years of age, systolic pressure is more important. In the case of isolated systolic hypertension, the systolic blood pressure is 140 mmHg or higher. Diastolic pressure is below normal (less than 90 mmHg). This condition is most common in people over 60 years of age.
Before you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor will measure your blood pressure 2-3 times in a few days. This is because it can vary depending on the time of day and day today. Occasionally, when some people see a doctor and their pressure rises automatically. This condition is known as white coat hypertension. Also, should measure your blood pressure in both arms and see if there is a significant difference between the values found on both arms. The size of the belt used to measure blood pressure should match the size of your arm.
Sometimes, your doctor will recommend checking your blood pressure for a 24-hour period. This is called ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. It is a device that records blood pressure changes over a 24-hour period with a specific interval. You have to wear it at the monitoring time period. Therefore, it is important to obtain more accurate data on changes in blood pressure during the day and night.
Whatever type of high blood pressure you have, your doctor will examine you for your previous history. The doctor may order a urine test, several blood tests, and an electrocardiogram or ECG. Blood tests basically test blood sugar, cholesterol, kidney function, and liver function. Sometimes, a heart scan, or echocardiogram, may be required.