When facing a diagnosis of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, individuals in the U.S. are at a higher risk of this condition, particularly among the Black American population. The incidence of high blood pressure is even more prevalent around the holiday season when many people consume traditional high-sodium dishes. It is estimated that 120 million adults are managing high blood pressure in the United States, making it crucial for those with hypertension to take extra precautions and monitor themselves during this time.
However, the accurate measurement and consistency of blood pressure readings could be a challenge, whether taken at home or in a medical setting. Studies have shown that readings can vary significantly based on different factors such as the type of device used, varied techniques in measuring, and even the physical position of the person being assessed.
Inconsistent readings can have life-threatening implications for patients managing high blood pressure, a critical risk factor for heart disease. According to renowned cardiologist Dr. Harlan Krumholz, the variance in measurements can create a significant “noise” in the readings, prompting the need for a more standardized approach to measuring blood pressure.
Moreover, it is essential for patients to be mindful of the correct way to measure blood pressure. The American Heart Association advises individuals to avoid smoking, consuming caffeine, or exercising prior to taking a measurement, and to ensure a relaxed state before that. It’s also important to use a properly calibrated blood pressure device, positioned on the individual’s bare arm, and avoid engaging in conversation during the process.
Given the potential implications of high blood pressure and the prevailing inconsistency in readings, the importance of implementing a standardized and accurate approach to taking blood pressure measurements is now more critical than ever. Keeping blood pressure in check can lead to better health outcomes, prevent misdiagnosis, and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are among the leading causes of death in the U.S.