Hypertension is often diagnosed during a visit to your doctor. Blood pressure is measured using a cuff around your arm and a device called a sphygmomanometer. Your doctor may ask you to sit quietly for five minutes before checking your blood pressure.

Placement of Blood Pressure Cuff

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If your blood pressure reading is high, you will probably be asked to come back for repeat blood pressure checks. The diagnosis of high blood pressure may be made if you have three or more readings over 140/90.

Some people’s blood pressure goes up when they are at the doctor’s office. If your doctor suspects that may be occurring, he or she may ask you to get some blood pressure readings at home. In some cases, he or she may recommend that you wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. This device measures your blood pressure regularly throughout the day as you go about your activities. It is usually worn for 24 hours, even while sleeping.