Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels.
Although a few people with early-stage high blood pressure may have dull headaches, dizzy spells or a few more nosebleeds than normal, these signs and symptoms typically don't occur until high blood pressure has reached an advanced — even life-threatening — stage.
When to see a doctor
Unless you have symptoms of extremely high blood pressure, there's probably no need to make a special trip to the doctor to have your blood pressure checked. You'll likely have your blood pressure taken as part of a routine doctor's appointment.
Ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading at least every two years starting at age 20. He or she will likely recommend more frequent readings if you've already been diagnosed with high blood pressure, prehypertension or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Children age 3 and older will usually have their blood pressure measured as a part of their yearly checkups.
If you don't regularly see your doctor, but are concerned about your blood pressure, you may be able to get a free blood pressure screening at a health resource fair or other locations in your community. You can also find machines in drugstores that will measure your blood pressure for free, but these machines aren't often calibrated and can give you inaccurate results.