Essay Hypertension: The Diagnosis of High Blood Pressure

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Blood pressure is a measurement of the force against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood through your body. Hypertension is another term used to describe high blood pressure. This common condition increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death for Americans. High blood pressure contributed to more than 362,895 deaths in the United States during 2010. Approximately 67 million persons in the United States have high blood pressure, and only half of those have their condition under control. An estimated 46,000 deaths could be avoided annually if 70% of patients with high blood pressure were treated according to published guidelines (Patel, Datu, Roman, Barton, Ritchey, Wall, …show more content…
The guidance brought important changes to both the diagnosis and also the management of hypertension. One major new recommendation is that diagnoses of high blood pressure should be confirmed by giving patients a test called 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM). The test involves carrying a mobile blood pressure monitor that records several blood pressure measurements throughout the day and night. According to NICE this test can give a better diagnosis than simply relying on measurements in a clinical setting (Williams, 2013). For HBPM, the patient needs to have access to a validated BP machine that has been calibrated. The patient takes BP readings morning and evening for seven days and records the results. For every BP recording, two consecutive measurements should be taken at least one minute apart with the person seated. The first day’s results should be discarded and an average of the results of all of the other readings should be used to assess the presence or absence of high BP. For ABPM, as well as, HBPM, the threshold for diagnosis of hypertension is a BP greater than or equal to 135/85 mmHg (Williams, 2013). All patients should be offered lifestyle recommendations to manage cardiovascular risk

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