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Measuring blood pressure correctly, two methods compared

Free picture (Hypertension) from https://torange.biz/hypertension-19155

High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for very frequent and disabling diseases, such as myocardial infarction and stroke. It is important, for these reasons, to provide good criteria for accurate blood pressure (BP) measurement in order, if necessary, to institute appropriate pharmacological treatment. The same criteria can also be used to rule out masked forms of hypertension or those that appear only during a visit within a physician’s office, so-called white-coat hypertension.

In a recent article by the American Heart Association, useful tips for proper blood pressure measurement are given in this regard. Until now, blood pressure measurement with a sphygmomanometer(so-called cuff) and phonendoscope has been considered the best technique. More recently, the market introduction of oscillometric instruments has allowed, as reported in the article, “accurate and multiple BP measurements through the push of a button, with the added benefit of reducing human errors associated with the auscultatory approach.” In fact, these are electronic automated devices that make use of a pressure sensor inside the cuff and are capable of more frequent BP readings, even in the absence of the operator, and more accurate than traditional measurement. The article also points out the advantage of taking the BP measurement in one’s own home and, therefore, even during hours when the doctor’s office is closed, consequently making the BP measurement more closely aligned with reality and eliminating the “white coat” effect.

Finally, I would like to remind you of the possibility of connecting these new devices to your computer and, through specific applications that are very easy to download online, preparing pressure diagrams, which will then be presented to your doctor. This will enable the medical professional to judge, more appropriately, the effect of the current drug treatment and any therapeutic changes to be made.

Source: Paul Muntner et al. Measurement of Blood Pressure in Humans: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Hypertension. 2019 Mar 4:HYP000000000087. doi: 10.1161/HYP. 0000000000000087.

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