Topic Overview

The Canadian Hypertension Education Program (CHEP) recommends blood pressure testing for adults at all routine doctor visits.footnote 2

Tests and programs for high blood pressure vary widely in reliability. Results from automated blood pressure testing, such as you might do at a grocery store or pharmacy, may not be accurate. Any high blood pressure measurement discovered during a blood pressure screening program needs to be confirmed by a doctor or another health professional.

Rechecking blood pressure

Experts recommend:footnote 1

  • Healthy adults with ideal blood pressure (140/90 mm Hg or below) should have their blood pressure checked at routine medical visits.
  • Adults with medium risk (high-normal) blood pressure (121-139 and/or 80-89 mm Hg) should have their blood pressure checked as often as recommended by their doctor or at least yearly. This can be done during any routine medical visit.
  • Adults with other risk factors for heart disease or evidence of disease caused by high blood pressure need to have their blood pressure checked more often.

For more information, see the topics High Blood Pressure, Medium Risk (High-Normal) Blood Pressure, and Home Blood Pressure Test.

Making sure that blood pressure is actually high

After measuring your blood pressure, your doctor may ask you to test it again when you are home.footnote 1 This is because your blood pressure can change throughout the day. And sometimes blood pressure is high only because you are seeing a doctor. This is called white-coat hypertension. There are also people who appear to have normal blood pressure when measured in the doctor’s office, but they have high blood pressure in other situations. This is called ‘masked’ hypertension. To diagnose high blood pressure, your doctor needs to know if your blood pressure is high throughout the day.

So your doctor may ask you to monitor your blood pressure at home to make sure that it actually is high. You may get an ambulatory blood pressure monitor or a home blood pressure monitor. These devices measure your blood pressure several times throughout the day.

References

Citations

  1. Daskalopoulou S, et al. (2015). The 2015 Canadian hypertension education program recommendations for blood pressure measurement, diagnosis, assessment of risk, prevention, and treatment of hypertension. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 31: 549-568.
  2. Canadian Hypertension Education Program (2013). 2013 Canadian Hypertension Education Program (CHEP) recommendations for the management of hypertension. Available online: http://www.hypertension.ca/chep-dp2.

Credits

Adaptation Date: 12/3/2017

Adapted By: HealthLink BC

Adaptation Reviewed By: HealthLink BC

Adaptation Date: 12/3/2017

Adapted By: HealthLink BC

Adaptation Reviewed By: HealthLink BC