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TriStar Centennial Medical Center

Diagnosis of Hypertension

Hypertension is often diagnosed during a routine visit to your doctor. Blood pressure is measured using a cuff around your arm and a device called a sphygmomanometer. Your doctor may ask you to sit quietly for 5 minutes before checking your blood pressure.

Placement of Blood Pressure Cuff
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For most people, it takes more than one high blood pressure reading to diagnose high blood pressure. If your blood pressure reading is high, a second measurement will be done a few minutes later. If your blood pressure is still high, you will probably be asked to come back for repeat blood pressure checks. High blood pressure diagnosis will be made when you have readings over 140/90 mmHg during 3 separate visits.

Sometimes people become anxious at the doctor's office. This may result in a higher than normal blood pressure reading. You may be asked to measure your blood pressure at home or in another location.

In some cases, you may be asked to wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. This device measures your blood pressure regularly throughout the day as you go about your activities. It is usually worn for 24 hours, even while sleeping.

Revision Information

  • How high blood pressure is diagnosed. American Heart Association website. Available at: Updated August 14, 2014. Accessed September 30, 2015.

  • How is high blood pressure diagnosed?. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: Updated September 10, 2015. Accessed September 30, 2015.

  • Hypertension. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated August 24, 2015. Accessed September 30, 2015.

  • Hypertension diagnosis and treatment (guideline). Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement website. Available at: Updated November 2014. Accessed September 30, 2014.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. TriStar Health does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.