High blood pressure is known as the silent killer. It does not always cause any signs or symptoms, but it greatly increases your risk of a heart attack, stroke, and a number of other ailments. If you are an adult, you really should have your blood pressure taken regularly to make sure it's within the normal range. Here is more info on four things you need to know about blood pressure screening.
1. Screening is available at most walk-in clinics.
You don't need to make an appointment with your doctor for blood pressure screening. Many pharmacies offer screenings on a walk-in basis, and there are also walk-in clinics in most communities. After you stop by a few times to have your blood pressure taken, the people at these clinics will get to know you and may even offer you some extra advice when your blood pressure reading is obtained.
2. One high blood pressure reading does not mean you have high blood pressure.
There are a number of situations that can temporarily raise your blood pressure. For example, your blood pressure may go up if you are really nervous about having your blood pressure taken, or it may shoot up if you take certain medications. So if you have one high blood pressure reading -- higher than 120/80 -- don't automatically assume you have high blood pressure. Return a day or two later to have your blood pressure taken again. If you get three high readings in a row, then you are considered to have high blood pressure.
3. If you have high blood pressure, you should see your doctor.
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have three subsequent high readings. There are many causes of high blood pressure, from kidney problems to clogged arteries. Your doctor can help determine the likely cause of your high readings so you can take the appropriate measures to lower your blood pressure.
4. There are various levels of high blood pressure.
Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. If your systolic (upper) number is 120 - 129, and your lower (diastolic) number is under 80, you have elevated blood pressure. Stage 1 high blood pressure is 130-139 / 80 - 89, and stage 2 is 140 or higher / 90 or higher. How your doctor opts to treat your blood pressure will be determined by how high your blood pressure is and how long it has been that high.