If you are diagnosed with chronic hypertension, your doctor may order a number of routine laboratory tests. These tests both check aspects of your general health and help determine whether your hypertension is due to an underlying disorder. In addition, testing is important in detecting superimposed preeclampsia with chronic hypertension. Superimposed preeclampsia is diagnosed when abnormal amounts of protein are found during urinalysis (proteinuria), in addition to chronic hypertension.

Routine laboratory tests may include:

  • a complete blood count with:
    • a count of the platelets (clotting factors) in your blood;
    • a glucose screen to check for diabetes;
    • an electrolyte panel;
    • a serum creatinine to test for kidney disease;
    • a serum uric acid (elevated levels may predict the development of preeclampsia)
    • a liver function panel; and
  • a urinalysis and urine culture.

Common Abnormal Findings:

  • A woman with uncontrolled diabetes has elevated blood glucose and detectable urinary glucose.
  • A woman with kidney disease has abnormal serum creatinine and urinalysis findings.

A woman with chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia has abnormal urinalysis due to protein in her urine.

Depending on how severe you hypertension is and whether you have complications from your hypertension, your doctor may order other tests:

  • an electrocardiogram to measure the electrical activity of the heart;
  • an echocardiogram to visualize the heart;
  • an ophthalmologic exam (exam of the eyes to look for changes that may indicate elevated blood pressure); and
  • an ultrasound of the kidneys.

Complications of hypertension include stroke, enlarged heart, heart attack, and kidney disease.

The next steps in the management of chronic hypertension in pregnancy depend on the severity of your disorder.