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Blood Pressure Screening

Topic Overview

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for adults 18 and older for high blood pressure.1

Tests and programs for high blood pressure vary widely in reliability. Results from automated blood pressure testing, such as you might do at a grocery store or pharmacy, may not be accurate. Any high blood pressure measurement discovered during a blood pressure screening program needs to be confirmed by a doctor or another health professional.

Rechecking blood pressure

Your doctor can let you know how often you should get your blood pressure checked. It may depend on what your blood pressure is and your risk for heart disease. You can get your blood pressure checked during any routine medical visit.

  • Healthy adults who have a blood pressure below 120/80 might have their blood pressure checked at least every 1 to 2 years.
  • Adults who are prehypertensive (120–139 and/or 80–89) should have their blood pressure checked as often as recommended by their doctor or at least yearly.
  • Adults with other risk factors for heart disease or evidence of disease caused by high blood pressure need to have their blood pressure checked more often.

For more information, see the topics High Blood Pressure, Prehypertension, and Home Blood Pressure Test.

Screening in children and teens

Children and teens typically have their blood pressure checked during routine well-child visits and checkups. Blood pressure checks typically start after age 3. After age 21, men and women can follow the adult screening guidelines.

References

Citations

  1. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2007). Screening for high blood pressure: Reaffirmation recommendation statement. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf07/hbp/hbprs.htm.

Other Works Consulted

  • U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2013). Screening for primary hypertension in children and adolescents. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspshypechld.htm. Accessed January 11, 2014.
  • 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.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
Current as of March 12, 2014

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