Tags: masked | hypertension | high | blood | pressure | signs | readings

Masked Hypertension: Beware of Hidden High Blood Pressure

By    |   Wednesday, 19 March 2014 07:14 AM

Most people with hypertension are diagnosed during routine physical checkups, when their blood pressure tests repeatedly reveal a systolic reading (the upper number) of 140 or higher and a diastolic reading (the lower number) of 90 or above. But for a smaller percentage of patients with high blood pressure, the condition is much more difficult to diagnose. 
When we think of high blood pressure, we typically think of sustained hypertension – the type that readily shows up during a routine doctor’s exam. Medication and lifestyle changes are recommended to bring the condition under control. But there are other forms of hypertension as well. For instance, some patients whose blood pressure is ordinarily within normal limits experience a spike in their numbers during checkups – possibly out of anxiety over being around the doctor.

Editor's Note: Top Cardiologist Discovers 'Simple Heart Cure'

“This is called the white-coat hypertension phenomenon,” explains Samuel J. Mann, M.D., a professor of clinical medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center, and author of Hypertension and You. “It affects about 20 percent of hypertension patients.” Although white-coat hypertension usually requires no immediate medical treatment, patients should still be monitored.
“It’s arguable whether people with white-coat hypertension are at risk of developing cardiac issues, but they are at risk for sustained hypertension,” Dr. Mann tells Newsmax Health.
Then there’s a third type of high blood pressure that often goes unnoticed: masked hypertension. This variety, which affects between 4 to 10 percent of all high blood pressure cases, is harder to detect because of its very nature: Patients have normal readings at the doctor’s office, but see higher numbers when they test their blood pressure at home. Studies indicate that masked hypertension is more common among older men, and it’s associated with a greater risk of heart disease.
A number of factors can contribute to high blood pressure numbers at home, including alcohol use, smoking, and life stresses. Blood pressure readings can also vary widely depending on the time of day and the patient’s activity level. However, if readings are repeatedly above normal during home testing, that’s a signal that masked hypertension may be at work.
“At-home blood pressure monitoring is a much better indicator than a blood pressure reading at the doctor’s,” says Dr. Mann. “If your systolic pressure is 180 at the doctor’s office but 120 at home, you’re at only a slightly increased risk of sustained hypertension. But if it’s 120 at the doctor’s office and consistently 180 at home, you’re definitely at higher risk.”
To detect masked hypertension, a doctor will often recommend wearing an ambulatory blood pressure monitor for 24 hours. The machine does regular readings throughout the day to get an accurate picture of the patient’s average blood pressure measurements.
Is there a way to diagnose hidden hypertension more easily at the doctor’s office? In one small study, patients had their blood pressure measured twice, holding their breath for 30 seconds just before having the second test taken. Patients with masked hypertension were more likely to see higher numbers on the second test.
“The more measurements you do, the more accurate a reading you get,” says Dr. Mann. “And the breath-holding may have taken the patients’ minds off their blood pressure and relaxed them enough to get a true reading.”
Here are other ways to deal with suspected masked hypertension:
·                     If your doctor recommends using an at-home blood pressure monitor, buy one that fastens around your arm. Monitors with wrist cuffs aren’t as reliable, says Dr. Mann.
·                     Make sure you’re using your monitor accurately. “The most important thing is to sit for five minutes and take three separate readings,” he says. Bring the machine to the doctor’s office to make sure it’s calibrated properly.
·                     Blood pressure readings vary widely according to the time of day, and it’s normal for the numbers to be higher in the morning than in the evening. However, if you consistently get elevated readings (higher than 130/80), especially at night, consult your doctor.

Editor's Note: Top Cardiologist Discovers 'Simple Heart Cure'

The complete version of this article first appeared in Health Radar. To read more, CLICK HERE.

© 2020 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.


   
1Like our page
2Share
Headline
Most people with hypertension are diagnosed during routine physical checkups, when their blood pressure tests repeatedly reveal a systolic reading (the upper number) of 140 or higher and a diastolic reading (the lower number) of 90 or above. But for a smaller percentage of...
masked,hypertension,high,blood,pressure,signs,readings,white-coat,Samuel J. Mann,M.D.
2112
2014-14-19
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 07:14 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 
Newsmax TV Live

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read Newsmax Terms and Conditions of Service.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved