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Blood Pressure Test

Blood Pressure Test

Those experiencing uncontrolled blood pressure or symptoms indicating high blood pressure (hypertension) should not hesitate to visit the nearest emergency room for evaluation and care. Emergency intervention can help prevent serious complications of hypertension such as a stroke, kidney damage, or vision loss.

Mercy Emergency Room is a freestanding emergency room with board-certified physicians available 24/7 to address your concerns regarding hypertension and to provide a thorough evaluation and prompt care.

What is blood pressure and hypertension?

Your blood exerts a certain amount of pressure on the walls of the arteries as it flows through your body. This is determined by the amount of blood pumped by your heart and the resistance to the flow exhibited by your vessels.

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and consists of two numbers; the systolic pressure is the measurement as your heart contracts to pump blood and diastolic pressure is the measurement as your heart relaxes. A measurement below 120 mmHg for systolic pressure and 80 mmHg for diastolic pressure is considered the normal range. A systolic range of 120-139 and a diastolic range of 80-89 represent prehypertension, a state that increases your risk of heart disease. A systolic blood pressure above 140 and diastolic pressure above 90 indicates hypertension which can cause damage to your heart, blood vessels, and the organs that they supply if left untreated.

Screening for hypertension is recommended at least once every 2 years after the age of 18.

Causes of hypertension

The most common form of hypertension is primary or essential hypertension, which does not have an identifiable cause and develops over time. However, secondary hypertension is blood pressure that is higher than primary hypertension, can occur suddenly, and is associated with an underlying condition.

Some of the factors that can increase your risk of developing hypertension include being of African descent, increasing age, smoking, excess alcohol intake, drug abuse, obesity, stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, underlying chronic condition such as diabetes and kidney problems, certain medications and existing family history.

Signs and Symptoms

Hypertension is usually not associated with any visible signs or symptoms unless the damage to the vessels and organs results in complications such as a stroke or heart attack. Severe hypertension may be accompanied by headache, nosebleed, or shortness of breath.


Mercy Emergency Room has advanced diagnostic tools for accurate determination of blood pressure. Your doctor will also evaluate your medical history and perform a physical examination. Those with hypertension receive further evaluation with blood and urine tests and an electrocardiogram, which measures the heart’s electrical activity to assess its function.


In cases of mild hypertension, your doctor may recommend healthy lifestyle changes to lower your blood pressure. You are advised to eat a healthy diet with less salt, quit smoking, lower alcohol intake, exercise regularly, and maintain an ideal weight.

When blood pressure cannot be controlled by lifestyle changes, your doctor will prescribe medication appropriate for your age and medical condition. You will be advised to visit your doctor regularly to have your blood pressure and overall health assessed.

Hypertension is a medical condition that must be addressed to avoid serious health consequences. High blood pressure can be detected early and controlled effectively with regular visits with your doctor, healthy lifestyle changes, and adherence to the treatment plan advised by your physician. Maintaining blood pressure at a normal level requires a lifelong commitment