High blood pressure is most often discovered during a routine physical examination. Fortunately, diagnosing high blood pressure is relatively simple. It involves measuring your blood pressure periodically over several weeks or months to see if the reading remains high.
Blood pressure is taken with an inflatable arm cuff connected to a pressure-measuring unit — a device called a manometer (sphygmomanometer). Your blood pressure generally isn’t considered high unless the average of three pairs of readings in a row is elevated, each pair taken at different visits to your doctor under similar conditions.
Everyone’s blood pressure normally varies through the day. And some people have a rise in blood pressure especially during visits to a doctor — a phenomenon known as white-coat hypertension. That’s why it’s important to take more than one reading and on more than one occasion. Your doctor may ask you to record your blood pressure at home and work to provide additional data.
(Source: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). www.mayoclinic.com)