Reviewed by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
Your doctor will diagnose hypertension (high blood pressure) using the results of blood pressure tests.

These tests will be done several times to make sure the results are correct. If your numbers are high, your doctor may have you return for more tests to check your blood pressure over time.

If your blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or higher over time, your doctor will likely diagnose you with hypertension. If you have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, a blood pressure of 130/80 mmHg or higher is considered HBP.

A blood pressure test is easy and painless. This test is done at a doctor's office or clinic.

To prepare for the test, take these precautions to make sure you're not indirectly affecting your blood pressure:

  • Don't drink coffee or smoke cigarettes for 30 minutes prior to the test

  • Go to the bathroom before the test.

  • Sit for 5 minutes before the test.

To measure your blood pressure, your doctor or nurse will use some type of a gauge, a stethoscope (or electronic sensor), and a blood pressure cuff. Most often, you will sit or lie down with the cuff around your arm as your doctor or nurse checks your blood pressure.

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