Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Physical Exam for High Blood Pressure
A physical exam for high blood pressure also includes a medical history. The extent of the physical exam and the level
of detail in your doctor's questions depend on how high your blood pressure is
and whether you have other risk factors for heart disease. People who have many
risk factors may have a more detailed evaluation.
exam and medical history includes:
The physical exam and medical history
are done to:
Blood pressure measurements for adults are classified as
High blood pressure is also classified into
After measuring your blood pressure, your doctor may ask you to test it again when you are home.footnote 2 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. 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.
Your doctor might check for signs that
high blood pressure has already caused damage to your blood vessels, heart, or eyes. Your doctor might check for:
High blood pressure means the top number is 140 or higher or the bottom number is 90 or higher, or both.
Complete the medical test information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this test.
Weber MA, et al. (2013). Clinical practice guidelines for the management of hypertension in the community. Journal of Clinical Hypertension. DOI: 10.1111/jch.12237. Accessed December 19, 2013.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. (2015). Hypertension in Adults: Screening and Home Monitoring: Final Recommendation Statement. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/high-blood-pressure-in-adults-screening. Accessed January 21 , 2016
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerStephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
Current as ofApril 27, 2016
Current as of:
April 27, 2016
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.