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HealthInfo Canterbury

High blood pressure tests and diagnosis

To check your blood pressure, you need to have it measured. This is a short, painless test that your GP or nurse can do.

Your blood pressure measurement will normally be checked when you visit your GP at a regular visit, but you can ask for additional blood pressure checks if you're worried.

To determine if you have high blood pressure, your GP may want to take several blood pressure measurements on a few separate occasions. This is because your blood pressure normally changes throughout the day.

In some cases, your GP might suggest:

This is usually done so that your doctor can get a better idea of what your usual blood pressure is when in a more relaxed setting, and to see what happens at different times of the day.

It's important to know that blood pressure naturally goes up and down during the day depending on what you're doing and how you're feeling. You don't need to worry if you have the occasional high reading. Make an appointment with your GP to look over your results. They can help plan any treatment, and to talk about lifestyle changes that will help. You don't need to go to the Emergency Department because of high blood pressure readings.

Other tests that might be required

Your GP may ask you questions about your general health and if you have a family history of high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, or heart problems. They may examine you and check your heart. Some people may need to have a blood test or urine test.

Diagnosis of high blood pressure

If your GP diagnoses you with high blood pressure, they may offer you diet and lifestyle advice and discuss medication options to lower your blood pressure. It isn't likely that you'll need to be referred to a specialist, but you can pay to see a private cardiologist if you wish.

You can find a private heart specialist using:

On the next page: Self-care for high blood pressure

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed May 2018. Last updated October 2018.

See also:

Preparing for your doctor's visit

Page reference: 50954

Review key: HIHBP-25277