Blood pressure test
High blood pressure (HBP) or Hypertension, may go unnoticed for a long time and cause serious damage, such as strokes, heart attacks or kidney failure, among other serious health problems. That is why HBP is also known as the “silent murderer”.
People with Diabetes have six times higher risk of developing Hypertension, but in smokers, this risk increases even more so they need to check their blood pressure levels more frequently. It’s very important for your doctor to check your blood pressure level on every visit, since early detection and treatment can spare you all these problems and save your life.
In most cases, Hypertension can occur as a direct result of other health problems, including kidney failure and atherosclerosis, among others. This is called secondary Hypertension. In other cases, Hypertension occurs without any apparent cause and could be attributed to factors such as age and Hyperinsulinism, also referred to as essential Hypertension.
Therefore, when a doctor diagnoses Hypertension, you also need to get a series of tests to check any health problems that may be causing HBP.
Here we describe some of the tests your doctor will perform to help you detect what health problem may be causing your high blood pressure:
- Chest X-rays to check if your heart is enlarged
- An electrocardiogram, to check your heart function
- Blood and urine tests to check kidney function
Sometimes, when the patient has special conditions, such as advanced age, a medical history or serious health problems, the doctor may order additional tests, including:
- In depth eye examination, performed by an ophthalmologist
- Vessels and arteries ultrasound in legs and neck
- Echocardiogram or heart ultrasound examination
- Exercise Electrocardiogram (ECG)
Blood Pressure Test Results
When you or your doctor check your blood pressure, you will have two values: systolic and diastolic pressure. The normal systolic pressure value is 120 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and occurs when the heart contracts, and the normal diastolic pressure value is of 80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and occurs when the heart expands. Higher values than mentioned above mean you have some degree of Hypertension.
Depending on the results, you may have one of the following conditions:
- Hypotension with low blood pressure: When your Systolic pressure is between 50 and 90 mmHg and your Diastolic is between 35 to 60 mmHg.
- Hypotension with slightly low blood pressure: when your Systolic pressure is between 90 and 100 mmHg and your Diastolic is between 60 and 70 mmHg.
- Normal blood pressure: when your Systolic pressure is between 100 and 130 mmHg and your Diastolic is between 70 and 85 mmHg.
- Hypertension with slightly high blood pressure: when your Systolic pressure is between 130 and 140 mmHg and your Diastolic is between 85 and 90 mmHg.
- Hypertension with moderately high blood pressure: when your Systolic pressure is between 140 and 160 mmHg and Diastolic is between 90 and 110 mmHg.
- Hypertension with very high blood pressure: when your Systolic pressure is between 160 and 230 mmHg and your Diastolic is between 110 and 135 mmHg.
Sometimes, systolic pressure is too high while the diastolic pressure remains at levels lower than 90 mmHg; this is known as isolated systolic Hypertension. An isolated systolic Hypertension with levels above 160 mmHg is of high concern, just as Hypertension, in which both pressures (systolic and diastolic) are high.
If you are diagnosed with Hypertension, your doctor will attempt to treat the problem without drugs, recommending certain lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet, increasing physical activity, losing weight, and leading a more relaxed life. If you smoke, he will advise you to quit: smoking raises blood pressure levels because nicotine constricts blood vessels and arteries. If treating the problem without drugs isn’t achieved, your doctor will prescribe medication to control your Hypertension.
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