Knowledge gaps in getting accurate blood pressure reading

Crossing your legs or even talking can have a significant impact on your blood pressure reading according to the American Heart Association, which identifies seven common errors that can lead to inaccurate blood pressure readings.

May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month and the American Heart Association, the nation’s largest volunteer health organization, is bringing to light these measurement mistakes – all of which can lead to an artificially high reading:

The effects of each mistake aren’t additive. However, “These simple things can make a difference in whether or not a person is classified as having high blood pressure that requires treatment,” said Michael Hochman, M.D., MPH, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and a member of the American Heart Association’s Blood Pressure Task Force. “Knowing how to measure blood pressure accurately at home, and recognizing mistakes in the physician’s office, can help you manage your pressure and avoid unnecessary medication changes.”

In clinics, proper measurement may be the exception to practice rather than the norm. At a high blood pressure symposium in Pittsburgh this January, healthcare professionals and clinicians were tested on accurately measuring blood pressure. Of 30 participants canada meds, only three passed. “This suggests we must better educate our clinicians and healthcare professionals regarding the proper techniques to accurately measure blood pressure. More accurate blood pressure measurements will empower our clinical teams to aggressively reduce hypertension prevalence and improve overall cardiovascular health in our country,” said Sean Stocker, Ph.D., who chaired the symposium. Stocker is director of Basic and Translational Research at the University of Pittsburgh Hypertension Center and president-elect of the American Heart Association Great Rivers affiliate.

“We need to raise awareness among clinicians about the overall benefit of getting an accurate measurement. If we make a concerted effort to get good measurements, that can lead to correct diagnoses, faster treatment and improving blood pressure control rates,” Hochman said.

Across the country, local experts are tackling their community’s blood pressure problems by encouraging healthcare providers, clinics and health systems to enroll in a national program called Target: BP. The program was created through a collaboration between the American Heart Association and American Medical Association.

Target: BP includes a blood pressure improvement program that starts with helping healthcare providers identify and correct errors in blood pressure measurement. The program also provides guidance for creating a clear treatment plan and partnering with patients to enable ongoing self-management – including teaching them to measure their blood pressure accurately at home.

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