Blood pressure test

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A blood pressure measures the pressure in your arteries as your heart pumps. You might have a blood pressure as a part of a routine doctor’s appointment or as a screening for high blood pressure (hypertension). Some people use a blood pressure test at home to better track their heart health.

Why it’s done

A blood pressure is a routine part of most doctor appointments. Blood pressure screening is an important part of your general health. Find out when you should have a blood pressure test.

  • People age 18 and older with normal blood pressure and no heart disease risk factors should have a blood pressure test at least once every two to five years.
  • People age 40 and older — or younger with an increased risk of high blood pressure — should have a blood pressure test every year. Risk factors for high blood pressure include obesity and being Black.
  • People who have chronic health conditions, such as high or low blood pressure or heart disease, may need to have blood pressure tests more often.

Your doctor may also suggest checking your blood pressure at home. Automated home blood pressure monitors are available and easy to use. Ask your doctor if this is an option for you.

It’s a good idea to keep a blood pressure log at home and have your doctor check your monitor once a year to make sure you are getting accurate readings.

Home blood pressure monitoring isn’t a substitute for visits to your doctor.

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