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Archived Clinical Summary

Blood Pressure in Adults (Hypertension): Screening

Originally published on: January 15, 2014

This recommendation statement is currently archived and inactive. It should be used for historical purposes only. Click here for copyright and source information .

Disclaimer:Recommendations made by the USPSTF are independent of the U.S. government. They should not be construed as an official position of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Archived: Clinical Summary of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation

This document is a summary of the 2007 update of recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) on screening for high blood pressure. This summary is intended for use by primary care clinicians.

For a summary of the evidence systematically reviewed in making these recommendations, the full

Select for copyright and source information.

Population Adult General Population1
Recommendation Screen for high blood pressure

Grade: A

Screening Tests

High blood pressure (hypertension) is usually defined in adults as: systolic blood pressure (SBP) of 140 mm Hg or higher, or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) of 90 mm Hg or higher.

Due to variability in individual blood pressure measurements, it is recommended that hypertension be diagnosed only after 2 or more elevated readings are obtained on at least 2 visits over a period of 1 to several weeks.

Screening Intervals The optimal interval for screening adults for hypertension is not known.

The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC 7) recommends:

  • Screening every 2 years with BP <120/80.
  • Screening every year with SBP of 120-139 mmHg or DBP of 80-90 mmHg.
Suggestions for Practice A variety of pharmacological agents are available to treat hypertension. JNC 7 guidelines for treatment of hypertension can be accessed at

The following non-pharmacological therapies are associated with reductions in blood pressure:

  • Reduction of dietary sodium intake.
  • Potassium supplementation.
  • Increased physical activity, weight loss.
  • Stress management.
  • Reduction of alcohol intake.
Other Relevant Recommendations from the USPSTF Adults with hypertension should be screened for diabetes.

Adults should be screened for hyperlipidemia (depending on age, sex, risk factors) and smoking. Clinicians should discuss aspirin chemoprevention with patients at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

These recommendations and related evidence are available at

1. This recommendation applies to adults without known hypertension.

Copyright and Source Information

This document is in the public domain within the United States.

Requests for linking or to incorporate content in electronic resources should be sent via the USPSTF contact form.

Current as of: December 2007

Internet Citation: Clinical Summary: Blood Pressure in Adults (Hypertension): Screening. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. October 2014.

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