Hypertension is often called a “silent disease” as the patient usually doesn’t know about it. There may be no symptoms or signs. But, it keeps on damaging your body. So, it’s important to regularly monitor your blood pressure. Tests should be conducted for heart disease as hypertension is a risk factor for heart disease.
Measuring Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is measured in mm Hg. Most often, blood pressure is measured with a device known as a sphygmomanometer. Blood pressure is measured in two ways: systolic and diastolic. Systolic blood pressure is the maximum pressure during a heartbeat. Diastolic blood pressure is the lowest pressure between heartbeats.
According to the most recent guidelines, a normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. Hypertension is blood pressure that is greater than 140/90, while prehypertension consists of blood pressure that is 120 to 139/80 to 89.
Apart from BP measurement, your doctor will ask about your medical history (whether you’ve had heart problems before), assess your risk factors (whether you smoke, have high cholesterol, diabetes, etc.), and talk about your family history (whether any members of your family have had high blood pressure or heart disease).
A physical examination of the whole body will also be conducted by your doctor. If you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend other tests, such as:
- Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG): This test measured the electrical activity, rate, and rhythm of your heartbeat via electrodes attached to your arms, legs, and chest. The results are recorded on graph paper.
- Echocardiogram: In this test, ultrasound waves with the help of a device are used to provide pictures of the heart’s valves and chambers so the pumping action of the heart can be studied and measurement of the chambers and wall thickness of the heart can be made.