Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. You may also need the following diagnostic tests:
Blood tests. Your doctor will need to test your blood urea nitrogen, electrolytes, and creatinine levels. Blood tests are done to assess kidney involvement and to determine the cause of hypertension, or to look for signs of complications.
Urine test. This is needed to check your electrolytes and hormones. A urine test is used to screen for causes of high blood pressure and to look for damage to the kidneys that is caused by untreated hypertension.
X-ray. This provides pictures of your heart, lungs, and chest. It can reveal an enlargement of the right ventricle of the heart. Chest X-ray may also be used to check for other lung conditions that may cause high blood pressure.
Electrocardiogram (ECG). It measures the electrical activity, rate, and rhythm of your heartbeat via electrodes attached to your legs, arms, and chest. The results listed on graph paper may also reveal signs of right ventricle enlargement or strain.
Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. This test records your blood pressure and heart rate over 24 hours while you carry out your daily activities. It allows your doctor to assess changes to your blood pressure more accurately.
How is hypertension treated?
Your doctor will evaluate your condition and discuss with you the range of treatment options available. These include a combination of:
Lifestyle changes to improve general health
Maintain a healthy diet (e.g. limit your intake of salt, cholesterol, and all fat types, and increase fibre intake)
Limit your alcohol consumption
Maintain a healthy weight
Monitoring of blood pressure at home
You need to monitor your blood pressure regularly to determine if your treatment is working. Use a validated device and check that the cuff fits always. Let your doctor check your blood pressure monitor for accuracy.
Check what your blood pressure reading means:
Blood pressure reading (mm HG)
What it means
90/60 or below
Hypotension, or low blood pressure
Less than 120/80
120 – 129/less than 80
130 – 139/80 – 89
Stage 1 hypertension
More than 140/90
Stage 2 hypertension
More than 180/120
Visit your doctor for regular check-ups to better manage your condition and avoid any potential complications.
Soon after the diagnosis, your doctor will:
Ask you to take blood tests for fasting lipids, glucose, and blood electrolytes levels, such as sodium and potassium.
Recommend you to undergo electrocardiogram.
Recommend tests to check for kidney problems.
Provide you information on hypertension and its management.
Your doctor will measure your blood pressure every 2 – 6 months. Likewise, your weight and BMI will be assessed every 3 – 12 months. If your doctor detects any complications, you will be advised on the necessary follow-up treatments.
Depending on your condition, your doctor may prescribe antihypertensive medications. You will need to take them regularly and permanently.