Do I have High Blood Pressure?
Finding out if you have high blood pressure is an important step in monitoring your cardiovascular health.
When seeking a diagnosis it is crucial to get an accurate measurement
from a medical provider who can correctly interpret the data. Blood
pressure monitors in stores are generally not considered reliable; however,
properly calibrated high quality blood pressure monitors used at home, in
collaboration with your doctor, can be effective as a diagnostic tool and
are also helpful in tracking blood pressure on an ongoing basis.
In the hours before checking your blood pressure, try to avoid exercise, caffeine,
decongestants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen,
although aspirin seems acceptable), smoking and alcohol, as these can
temporarily influence your blood pressure and lead to a deceptive reading.
Resting, both physically and mentally, at least 15 minutes before having
your blood pressure measured is also highly recommended.
In 2003 the JNC7 published new guidelines for interpreting adult blood
pressure readings summarized in the table below.
|Blood Pressure Classification||Systolic BP
|Stage 1 Hypertension||140-159||or 90-99|
|Stage 2 Hypertension||≥160||or ≥100|
Ideal blood pressure in children is based on a formula that includes height,
weight and age.
The report also recommends that you have your blood pressure
professionally checked every other year if it is normal, once a year if you
are prehypertensive, every two months if you are stage 1 hypertensive and
monthly if you are stage 2 hypertensive. Always default to your physician’s
advice if they instruct otherwise.
Remember, high blood pressure has no symptoms. Getting your blood
pressure checked is the only way to know if you are hypertensive!
For more information please visit http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/hypertension/jnc7full.pdf.