High Blood Pressure Screening
You will probably be familiar with blood pressure screening. A fabric sleeve will be put over your upper arm (usually) and pumped up to inflate the sleeve around your arm.
After a number of seconds, the sleeve will then be allowed to deflate.
Why screen for high blood pressure?
Blood pressure is important to check as a high blood pressure level can increase the risk of heart disease (cardiovascular disease), kidney disease (nephropathy), sight damage (retinopathy) and strokes.
Do I have to prepare for the blood pressure check?
The test assumes that you are in a resting (though not asleep!) state. To prevent misleading results, therefore, you should feel suitably calm, be sitting down and not talking.
You may even be asked to empty your bladder before the test is carried out.
If you have had to rush to get to the appointment, your results may be artificially high. If this is suspected, you may need to arrange a re-test at a later date.
Blood pressure levels can vary for different reasons, including anxiety. Some people may frequently experience higher blood pressure as a result of being tested, this phenomenon is sometimes referred to as white coat syndrome.
It may sometimes be appropriate to try the test more than once and some doctors may accept readings from home blood pressure checks.
What is high blood pressure?
For people with diabetes, high blood pressure is anything over 130/80. For example 120/80 would be a healthy blood pressure.
- Further information on the numbers and high and low blood pressure symptoms.
- Read more on hypertension (high blood pressure)
When will I get the blood pressure test results?
The doctor or nurse should be able to let you know what the result is almost instantly. Whilst carrying out the test, they may also check your pulse.
What if I have high blood pressure?
It is likely you will be asked to make lifestyle changes. Diet, exercise and smoking are just some of the contributing factors. Depending on the results and your medical history, your doctor may also prescribe blood pressure lowering drugs.
What if I have low blood pressure?
Low blood pressure, defined as a blood pressure reading of below 90/60 mmHg, tends to be less common than high blood pressure. In people with diabetes, low blood pressure can occur if you have been prescribed blood pressure medication and have also improved your blood pressure through lifestyle changes.
If blood pressure medication is leading to low blood pressure, your doctor may decide to alter your dose or take you off blood pressure medication.
If you are not on blood pressure medication, you may be advised to take precautions such as keeping hydrated, standing up gradually and avoiding caffiene at night.