Hypertension tests include blood pressure measurement, physical exam, medical history, and additional tests to trace the cause of high blood pressure and assess any damage to internal organs. Tests may include urinalysis, blood tests, chest x-ray, and ECG. Additional tests may be ordered for patients with negative results. The tests guide the doctor in treatment and medication selection.
Hypertension tests are started with a non-invasive measurement of the patient’s blood pressure using a sphygmomanometer. Blood pressure measurement is usually supplemented by a physical exam. Part of the physical examination is looking at the heart by listening through a stethoscope for any abnormal sounds. The doctor will also use the stethoscope to check for murmurs in the arteries.
The doctor will conduct an interview to learn about the patient’s medical history, risk factors, and family history. The interview is done to find out if there is a medical condition that is comorbid with hypertension. It is also performed to check if the patient maintains an inappropriate lifestyle and unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive intake of alcoholic beverages and fatty and salty foods, as these are probable causes of hypertension. Finally, the interview is carried out to check whether hypertension, which is hereditary, is present in the family.
Once a patient is diagnosed as hypertensive, they must undergo more hypertension tests as determined by the doctor. The tests are intended to trace the cause of high blood pressure and assess any damage it has done to the patient’s internal organs. Tests for high blood pressure typically include urinalysis, a complete blood count (CBC), and a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG).
Urinalysis is done to check if there is a kidney infection and also to diagnose if there is a developing chronic disease such as hypertensive nephropathy. The complete blood count, in part, looks at the amount of red blood cells, which when found to be high, is an indication of polycythemia, a common condition among people with high blood pressure. The Comprehensive Metabolic Panel is a blood test that provides information about your blood sugar level, liver, kidney, electrolyte, and fluid balance status. A chest x-ray is a lung study ordered by a doctor to find out if the heart is enlarged or if there is evidence of pulmonary hypertension. A patient undergoes a 12-lead ECG to find out if there is thickening or damage to the heart muscle or wall, which is one of the complications of high blood pressure.
More tests may be ordered by the doctor, especially for a patient with negative results on his or her initial hypertension tests. A patient with indications of kidney disease may be required to undergo a renal ultrasound or abdominal CT scan, or both. If the patient has high blood glucose or is known to be diabetic, he may have serum glycohemoglobin and urine microalbumin tests. A 2D echocardiogram may be ordered for a patient with defective heart function to evaluate heart conditions more accurately.
Hypertension tests are needed to guide the doctor in his or her treatment plan for a patient. The test will also guide the doctor in prescribing the correct medications and their dosage. It will also facilitate the selection of specialist doctors who will be part of the medical team to fully manage a patient’s medical condition. A patient must, therefore, cooperate so that the tests are completed in the shortest possible time.