The one test that is performed to determine blood pressure readings is simply measuring blood pressure using either an electronic system or a cuff, column of mercury, and a stethoscope. The test is noninvasive, and there is nothing painful about it. The optimal reading for an adult under the age of 55 is 120/80. Readings up to 139/89 are considered to be within the normal range. A reading that is 140/90 or higher is cause for concern.
It is important to know that blood pressure varies throughout the day. It can be measured and then measured again immediately and the two readings will not be exactly the same. So one reading that is 140/90 or higher does not indicate that a person does, in fact, have high blood pressure.
There are many things that can cause these readings to be high. If a patient is stressed or anxious, or has just been exercising, a reading will be high. There is even a term for one high blood pressure reading in a doctor's office. It is called “White Coat Hypertension. " The patient is simply anxious about seeing the doctor.
In order to determine if a patient really does have high blood pressure that needs to be treated, readings will be taken over a period of weeks or even months and at various times of the day. It depends, of course, upon just how high the first reading is to see how long the doctor will wait to begin treating the high blood pressure.
If a reading is high, the doctor will advise the patient to make some lifestyle changes. If the patient is overweight, he or she will be advised to lose weight. If the patient consumes a great deal of alcohol, he or she will be advised to decrease their intake significantly. If the patient smokes, he or she will be advised to stop. All patients will be advised to decrease their intake of salt.
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