Having a blood pressure test is a routine part of most medical appointments.

Your doctor may order separate appointments for repeat blood pressure tests to check for ongoing health conditions, including prehypertension, high blood pressure (hypertension), low blood pressure (hypotension), heart disease or other conditions.

You should have a blood pressure test performed at least once every two years to screen for high blood pressure as a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, starting at age 18. Your doctor may recommend screening at a younger age if there are additional risk factors for developing heart disease, such as being overweight or having a family history of high blood pressure or heart disease. If you've already been diagnosed with high or low blood pressure, you should have blood pressure tests more frequently.

Even if your doctor doesn't think you have high or low blood pressure as an ongoing condition, your blood pressure is important information for your doctor. It can provide information about your general health.

Your doctor may recommend that, in addition to regular blood pressure tests at a doctor's office, you perform blood pressure tests at home. There are automated home blood pressure monitors that are easy to use.

Jun. 08, 2012