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High Blood Pressure Diagnosis Can Be Tricky

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Monday, 19 Jan 2015 07:08 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Back in 1982 Billy Joel wrote: "Two men out and three men on/ Nowhere to look but inside/ Where we all respond to PRESSURE."

That's how it can feel when you're sitting in the doctor's office waiting for a blood pressure test.

For many, when the doc takes their BP, it soars, and it turns out that has serious consequences.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says that between 15 percent and 30 percent of people who are told they have high blood pressure after an in-office "cuff on arm" test do NOT experience hypertension in their day-to-day life.

As a result, people are given unnecessary medication! (And many more who really have it don't get tested or treated!)

The best way to diagnose high BP, says the USPSTF, is to follow up an in-office test with an ambulatory monitor that you wear for 24 to 48 hours. Every 30 minutes, it assesses your BP - even while you're sleeping. Then, a reliable diagnosis can be made.

You want to know (and get treated) if your BP is elevated.

High BP causes strokes, heart attack, cognitive decline and kidney disease. Even if you have mild only hypertension (140 to 159/90 to 99 mmHg) and no overt cardiovascular disease, taking antihypertensive drugs reduces your risk by more than 80 percent; you also can get your BP down with healthy lifestyle changes.

Sometimes it's best to do both.

So like Billy Joel said, "You have to learn to pace yourself ... You're just like everybody else - pressure."

© 2015 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

© King Features Syndicate

   
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Back in 1982 Billy Joel wrote: Two men out and three men on/ Nowhere to look but inside/ Where we all respond to PRESSURE. That's how it can feel when you're sitting in the doctor's office waiting for a blood pressure test. For many, when the doc takes their BP, it...
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2015-08-19
Monday, 19 Jan 2015 07:08 PM
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