It would be great to offer a chart of symptoms of high blood pressure and indicators for early diagnosis, but for most people, there are no symptoms. This applies even in cases of dangerously high blood pressure.
There are a minority of people with stage one and stage two hypertension who have reported dull headaches, dizzy spells and an increase of nose bleeds, but these symptoms are not typical until high blood pressure has reached dangerous levels. These symptoms may not occur even at life threatening levels.
How is hypertension diagnosed? - Regular check ups with your doctor is the best way to check your blood pressure. Children 3 and up will have their BP checked during their annual visits. Adults will have their BP checked as part of a routine visit. If you do not routinely visit your doctor, look for free blood pressure screenings at health fairs and community health centers.
If you are over 50, are overweight, have diabetes, work high stress jobs, drink more then 2 alcoholic drinks a day, smoke, have a sedentary life style or have any of the secondary conditions which can cause hypertension, it is important to routinely check your BP.
Are the free BP machines in drug stores and groceries reliable? Although the free monitors available in many drug stores and groceries may have been reliable when they were first installed, they may not be accurate unless they are regularly recalibrated. The size of the cuff can also affect the accuracy of individual readings.
Is the blood pressure cuff size important? The size of the BP cuff can absolutely affect the reading. If the cuff is too small you may get a false high reading, and conversely if it is too high you may get a false low reading.
What is the best way to get an accurate reading? Most experts suggest averaging multiple readings for the truest numbers. Ask your doctor to do several readings during the same visit.
Hypertension is a serious condition which needs to be diagnosed and tracked. There are home monitors available and regular doctor visits are recommended to anyone who has any of the common causes of HBP or a history of hypertension.