Many health care centers require that you go through a series of routine tests in triage before you see a doctor. These tests are performed by a nurse or medical assistant and seek to identify what might be wrong with you and how best to treat you.
Here are two tests you might have to go through before being seen by a medical professional.
Body Temperature Test
A medical professional takes your temperature with a digital thermometer or a tympanic (ear) thermometer to see if you might have a fever. The test may be performed orally, rectally, axillary (underarm), or temporal artery (forehead).
Normal body temperature is around 98.60F (37.00C), but can range from 97.50F (36.50C) to 98.90F (37.40C). You may have a fever if your temperature is above 100.40F (38.00C).
Fever is often a sign of infection but can also be caused by heat exposure, strenuous exercise, some medical conditions (such as thyroid problems), and certain medications (such as steroids). If you have a fever, your medical professional will likely order additional tests to find out the cause.
They may also ask about other symptoms, such as chills, sweats, cough, or sore throat. Usually, these symptoms often go hand-in-hand with a fever, which helps narrow down the possible causes.
Blood Pressure Test
A medical professional will take your blood pressure with a sphygmomanometer or blood pressure cuff. This measures the force of the blood flow through your arteries. The medical professional will place an inflatable cuff around your upper arm and pump it up until it cuts off the circulation. They will then release the pressure and listen with a stethoscope to see how quickly your blood starts flowing again.
Your blood pressure is measured in two numbers, systolic (the top number) and diastolic (the bottom number). Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg. A reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher indicates high blood pressure.
If your medical professional finds that you have high blood pressure, they will likely order additional tests to find out the cause. This may include a urine test to check for protein or blood in your urine (which can be signs of kidney damage) and/or a fasting lipid panel to check your cholesterol and triglyceride levels (high levels can harden and narrow your arteries).
If you have high blood pressure, your medical professional will likely recommend lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthier diet and exercising more to help lower your blood pressure. They may also prescribe medication such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, and/or diuretics.
If you have very high blood pressure (a systolic blood pressure of 180 or higher or a diastolic blood pressure of 110 or higher), you may be hospitalized so that a medical team can closely monitor your blood pressure and treat any complications, such as heart failure or kidney damage.