Diagnosing High Blood Pressure & Other Treatment Options
Diagnosing High Blood Pressure
Diagnosing high blood pressure is very quick and is taken by using a blood pressure cuff and monitor. Tests for high blood pressure can be carried out in a variety of places including your doctor’s office, your local hospital, at a clinic and they can be performed by a nurse. High blood pressure machines are now popping up in many local drug stores. So you really have no excuse for not getting your blood pressure checked.
The following is a recommendation for the American Heart Health Association:
Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg (systolic pressure is 120 AND diastolic pressure is less than 80). For optimal health, the American Heart Association recommends adults to maintain a blood pressure of less than 120/80 mm Hg millimeters of mercury. Starting at age 20, have a blood pressure screening at your regular healthcare visit or once every 2 years, if your blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg.
Readings are performed by using a machine that most people refer to as a blood monitor along with a cuff. The actual technical name for this machine is a sphygmomanometer.
The high blood pressure test is performed by the cuff being placed midway around your arm. It is then inflated until it is nice and tight. As the cuff becomes inflated it traps an artery in your arm technically stopping the blood flow. As the air is slowly released the doctor will monitor the machine or listen with a stethoscope. Your blood flow resumes and as it does so it makes noises which register onto the monitor.
From this your doctor is able to determine two important numbers:
Systolic Pressure – this is the measurement of the blood flow against the artery walls when your heart beats. The monitor detects the number as your heart beats and this number is recorded as your top or systolic pressure number.
Diastolic Pressure – this is the measurement of the pressure of the blood flow on your artery walls in between heartbeats. This number becomes the lower or diastolic pressure in your readout.
Your blood pressure is the amount of force which is placed upon your arteries and for most people this causes no major symptoms. The lack of symptoms is why it is important to get into the habit of going for regular testing. High blood pressure is often referred to as the silent killer.
One high blood pressure reading is not enough to know if you have consistent high blood pressure. If your last reading was borderline or slightly above, make sure you go for another check in a few months. If these readings are still high your doctor may suggest you start making some lifestyle changes to prevent complications.