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How is Hypertension Diagnosed?

Hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) is often called a “silent disease” because you may never know you have it until a doctor points it out. There may be no signs or symptoms completely. Yet, it can cause severe body damage, eventually resulting in problems like heart disease.

It is therefore very important to regularly monitor your blood pressure especially if you have a family history of hypertension. Since high blood pressure can cause heart problems, your doctor may also test you for heart disease.

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Hypertension diagnosis starts with measurement of blood pressure. You can have your blood pressure measured by a health care professional or you can monitor your own pressure at home.

The device used for measuring blood pressure is known as a sphygmomanometer. It comprises a stethoscope, a dial pump, valve, and arm cuff.

Blood pressure is measured in two ways; the systolic measurement is the maximum pressure during a heartbeat and the diastolic measurement is the lowest pressure between heartbeats. The results are given as systolic over diastolic such as “120 over 80” or just 120/80, in millimeters of Mercury (mm Hg).

What is normal blood pressure and what is high pressure? 

  • Normal blood pressure – According to the most recent guidelines, normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. Some doctors even recommend 115/75.
  • Prehypertension – The period just before hypertension, also called prehypertension, consists of blood pressure that is 120 – 139/80 – 89. Prehypertension tends to get worse with age.
  • Stage 1 Hypertension – Anyone with blood pressure ranging from 140 – 159/90 – 99 mm Hg is said to have stage 1 high blood pressure.
  • Stage 2 hypertension – this is a more severe stage of high blood pressure. One is said to have stage 2 hypertension if their blood pressure is greater than 160/100 mm Hg.

While both systolic and diastolic readings are important, the systolic reading becomes even more crucial as you grow older. This is because systolic hypertension (where diastolic pressure is normal but systolic pressure is high) is quite common in people older than 60.

The doctor will take 2 to 3 pressure readings at different appointments before giving a hypertension diagnosis.

Contact Dr. Seldon Today for Your Hypertension Diagnosis

Dr. Seldon, a Heart Doctor and Cardiologist in New York City, offers same day appointments and all testing is done on site. Call us at (212) 367-8000.



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