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HealthInfo Canterbury

High blood pressure tests and diagnosis

Blood pressure measurements

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

Your blood pressure measurement will normally be checked when you visit your general practice team at a regular visit, but you can request additional blood pressure checks if you are worried.

To determine if you have high blood pressure, your doctor 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 doctor might suggest you do:

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

Other tests that might be required

Your doctor 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 and/or urine test.

Diagnosis of high blood pressure

If your doctor diagnoses you with high blood pressure, they may offer you diet and lifestyle advice and discuss medication options to lower your blood pressure. It's not likely that you will need referral to a specialist, but if you wish, you can pay to see a private cardiologist.

You can find a private heart cardiologist using:

On the next page: Living with high blood pressure

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Updated April 2015.

See also:

Preparing for your doctor's visit

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