The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are usually administered to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.
Blood Pressure Check
A blood pressure reading measures the amount of pressure in the artery when the heart is pumping (the upper number) and at rest (the lower number). This test is quick and painless. A blood pressure cuff is placed around your arm. Air is pumped into the cuff and released while a healthcare professional listens with a stethoscope. Screening for hypertension is easy and done routinely. Blood pressure checks can be done easily in your doctor’s office by a nurse, in some pharmacies, or at home if you buy a blood pressure machine.
The American Heart Association recommends having your blood pressure checked regularly; it is typically done every time you go to your doctor's office. If your blood pressure is normal, have it checked at least every two years.
If the reading is high, your doctor will likely recheck it, as one reading showing high blood pressure does not necessarily mean that you have hypertension . If your blood pressure is near the top of the normal range, or if you have a family history of high blood pressure or other risk factors, you are at risk for hypertension. Talk to your doctor about how often your blood pressure should be checked.
High blood pressure. American Heart Association website. Available at:
. Accessed June 18, 2009.
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