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A physical exam for high blood pressure also includes a medical history. The extent of the physical exam and the level of detail in your doctor's questions depend on how high your blood pressure is and whether you have other risk factors for heart disease. People who have many risk factors may have a more detailed evaluation.
The physical exam and medical history includes:
The physical exam and medical history are done to:
After measuring your blood pressure, your doctor may ask you to test it again when you are home.footnote 2, footnote 1 This is because your blood pressure can change throughout the day. And sometimes blood pressure is high only because you are seeing a doctor. This is called white-coat hypertension. To diagnose high blood pressure, your doctor needs to know if your blood pressure is high throughout the day.
So your doctor may ask you to monitor your blood pressure at home to make sure that it actually is high. You may get an ambulatory blood pressure monitor or a home blood pressure monitor. These devices measure your blood pressure several times throughout the day.
Your doctor might check for signs that high blood pressure has already caused damage to your blood vessels, heart, or eyes. Your doctor might check for:
High blood pressure means the top number is 130 or higher or the bottom number is 80 or higher, or both.
Complete the medical test information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this test.
CitationsWhelton PK, et al. (2017). 2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA guideline for the prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, published online November 13, 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.11.006. Accessed November 20, 2017.U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. (2015). Hypertension in Adults: Screening and Home Monitoring: Final Recommendation Statement. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/high-blood-pressure-in-adults-screening. Accessed January 21 , 2016
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Current as ofDecember 19, 2017
Current as of: December 19, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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