High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Diagnosis & Tests

Blood pressure can be variable. Yours might be high one day and normal on another. That’s why healthcare professionals like to take multiple readings during several office visits before diagnosing high blood pressure. 

Many people get nervous when they go see a healthcare provider, and that may cause blood pressure to rise. This is often called "white-coat" hypertension. If this happens to you, your healthcare provider may ask you to take your blood pressure at home several times and report the results. There are accurate and easy-to-use blood pressure monitors that you can use at home. They are available at a reasonable cost. 

Once you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, your healthcare provider will check for any illnesses that might be causing the high blood pressure. They will also check for illnesses that are being caused by high blood pressure. These conditions can include heart problems, kidney disease, diabetes, or eye problems. Your provider will take a routine history and do a physical examination. They may also do blood and urine tests. 

Your healthcare provider should regularly measure your blood pressure while you are lying down, and then after you stand up. Older people may develop very low blood pressure when standing up. This is called postural (or orthostatic) hypotension. Postural hypotension can cause episodes of fainting or falling. In this situation, caution is needed to not lower blood pressure too low as the risk for falls may be increased. 


Last Updated July 2020