What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps out blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart contracts, pumping the blood through your arteries. This is called systolic pressure. When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure decreases. This is the diastolic pressure.
Your blood pressure reading uses these two numbers, the systolic and diastolic pressures. Usually they are written one above or before the other. Readings are interpreted as follows:
- 119 (systolic)/79 (diastolic) or lower = normal blood pressure
- 120-139 for the top number, or 80-89 for the bottom number = pre-hypertension
- 140/90 or higher = high blood pressure
High Blood Pressure and Hypertension
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, except rarely headaches can occur. It can cause serious problems such as stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure. You can control high blood pressure through healthy lifestyle habits and taking medicines, if needed. A diagnosis of hypertension (a lasting medical condition where your blood pressure readings are consistently high) can only be made after a number of high blood pressure readings.
What is Blood Pressure Screening & Counseling?
Blood pressure screening & counseling is a service designed to screen patients who may be at risk for hypertension (high blood pressure) and other heart health conditions. For most accurate results, it is recommended that you fast for 9-12 hours before testing. During this visit, the healthcare provider will record the patient’s age, height, weight and waist circumference, as well as medical, family, and social history information. After this, the provider will take the patient’s blood pressure using an arm cuff and a blood test will be performed by obtaining a small blood sample from the patient’s finger in order to screen for other heart health conditions.
Based on the results of these screenings the healthcare provider will counsel the patient on their risk factors and recommend lifestyle changes to help the patient lead a more healthy life. If necessary, the healthcare provider will also recommend further testing and refer the patient to another healthcare provider for appropriate follow-up care.
Who is Blood Pressure Screening & Counseling Recommended for?
This service is recommended for patients over the age of 18 who may be at risk for or show early signs of hypertension and who are interested in understanding their health so that they can take steps to lead a healthier life. Patients receiving this service are encouraged to share their results with their primary care provider.
This service is not recommended for patients currently being treated for hypertension, dyslipidemia, or diabetes, and pregnant or lactating women.