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Do You Really Have High Blood Pressure?

Do You Really Have High Blood Pressure?
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By    |   Tuesday, 21 March 2017 11:31 AM

If you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you may not actually have the condition, says a study from the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center. If your doctor is still using a manual device to check your blood pressure, there's a chance you've been misdiagnosed.

"About 20 percent of people receiving treatment for hypertension don't actually have a problem and do not need medication," said lead author Janusz Kaczorowski. "This is due mainly to the fact that their blood pressure was improperly measured."

In the United States, one adult in three — about 75 million Americans — suffers from high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Getting your blood pressure taken during a visit to the doctor is a routine procedure. It also provides crucial medical data. For years, doctors used tensiometers or sphygmomanometers to measure blood pressure. They manually inflated a cuff and a reading was given on a mercury-filled gauge called a manometer. Today, automatic electronic measuring devices, known as oscillometric devices, are available, and many experts consider them superior to the old devices.

But some doctors still use the old devices. In fact, 52 percent of doctors who responded in the Canadian study said they still used manual devices, and only 43 percent said they always used the newer oscillometric devices.

"Clinicians should use automatic devices," Kaczorowski said. "They are more expensive but more precise because they take several measurements. Manual measurement is acceptable if it's properly done, but that's often not the case.

"To take blood pressure the right way, a 12- to 15-minute period is required. We know that the average visit to a family doctor lasts 10 minutes."

The study was published in the journal Canadian Family Physician.

Another Canadian study, this one published in 2016, found that home blood pressure monitors aren't accurate either, and were sometimes off by as much as 20 mm Hg.

In 2014, the FDA warned that blood pressure kiosks available in public places may not be accurate. Cuff size is critical for correct readings, but one-size-fits-all cuffs in public kiosks give higher readings if they're too small, and lower readings if they're too large.

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If you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you may not actually have the condition, says a study from the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center. If your doctor is still using a manual device to check your blood pressure, there's a chance you've been...
high, blood, pressure, hypertension, manual, device, measure
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2017-31-21
Tuesday, 21 March 2017 11:31 AM
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