If you have high blood pressure, a doctor will recommend a variety of tests. It’s possible you’ll receive a urine test, cholesterol test, electrocardiogram and more than likely a blood test. But if you haven’t been diagnosed, can a blood test alone determine you have high blood pressure?
Can a blood test detect high blood pressure? A blood test cannot detect high blood pressure. The best way to diagnose high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure measured. A blood test may help determine the cause of your high blood pressure, any organ damage and possible treatment.
Can diagnosing high blood pressure be that simple, just measuring your blood pressure? Yes, but it’s a little more involved than taking one blood pressure measurement. One isolated high blood pressure reading is not enough to make a diagnosis.
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Blood Test and Detecting High Blood Pressure
A blood test can tell you many things, but having high blood pressure is not one of them. The only way to detect and diagnose high blood pressure is from measuring your blood pressure (r). A diagnosis of high blood pressure is made when your blood pressure is consistently measured at a high level.
There are a few different ways to measure your blood pressure. You can do it at home with a home blood pressure monitor. I highly recommend 3 affordable, high quality home monitors. You can check out my blog post on those by clicking here. In addition, blood pressure can be measured in a pharmacy, which I don’t recommend or at your physician’s office.
Your home blood pressure measurements can be a great benefit when determining a high blood pressure diagnosis but can’t be relied on solely. Receiving accurate measurements by performing the correct techniques is critical. I wrote a whole blog post on that which you can read here. Your home blood pressure readings should be taken along with you to your next doctor appointment.
A doctor will use the following to help make a diagnosis of high blood pressure:
- Your home measurements
- The medical office BP measurements
- Medical history
- Risk factors
- Family history
- Physical exam
The new blood pressure guidelines released in 2017, changed what measurement determines a high blood pressure reading. Blood pressure rises from elevated to High Blood Pressure Stage 1, when systolic measures 130-139 mmHg or diastolic measures 80-89 mmHg.
High blood pressure is when your pressure is consistently in the high blood pressure range (r). A doctor will likely take 2 or more measurements at separate medical appointments to make a diagnosis.
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What A Blood Test Can Do For High Blood Pressure
Once you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, routine lab tests are recommended before a doctor determines your treatment (r). One of those tests will be a blood test. A blood test will show a doctor the levels of different substances in your blood for the following:
- Your cholesterol levels.
- Blood glucose for diabetes.
- Other medical issues.
- Blood urea and creatinine levels for kidney problems.
- Adrenal gland problems.
- Electrolytes like sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate.
Other Tests For High Blood Pressure
In addition to a blood test, other tests will be recommended to help determine the cause of your high blood pressure and treatment. They are not used to detect high blood pressure. Those tests may include the following:
Urine test: A urine test can help determine a cause of high blood pressure. This test may show possible diabetes, kidney problems or drugs contributing to high blood pressure.
Echocardiogram: This uses sound waves to create pictures of your heart (r). It can help determine the following problems which may affect blood pressure:
- Heart’s pumping strength.
- Hear valve problems.
- Any growths or tumors around your valves.
- Any problems with blood vessels around the heart.
- Holes in the heart chambers.
- Blood clots.
Electrocardiogram: An EKG assesses your heart rhythm (r). If your heart rhythm is abnormal, it can affect your blood pressure.
Cat Scan or MRI: These 2 tests allow a doctor to see inside your body (r). For high blood pressure, this test may detect any tumors, blood clots or excess fluid on or around your kidneys or adrenal glands.
Ultrasound: This test can show a doctor any blood flow problems by checking blood vessels and kidneys. To expand ultrasound testing, recently a small patch was created that can attach to the skin like a bandage. The patch contains ultrasound transducers and can be placed over any artery selected (r).
Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (APBM): This is a portable blood pressure machine worn on your body. It has a cuff that wraps around your arm and a recording device which can be worn on a belt. This device will measure your blood pressure at different intervals throughout the day. This enables your doctor to see fluctuations throughout the day and assess your blood pressure under different circumstances.
The testing mentioned can help a doctor recommend a treatment for high blood pressure. One of those treatments is your nutrition.
Read Next: 25 Foods To Avoid With High Blood Pressure
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