There’s a saying that when people get checked up, inside the clinic, it is highly possible that their blood pressure will rise. However, as observed, it seems that what is happening is just the opposite. It seems that during their doctor’s appointment, people’s blood pressure tends to be within normal levels.
Accordingly, such occurrence is termed as “masked hypertension.” To diagnose this condition, research says that patients must wear a monitoring device for at least 24 hours.
In study concerning masked hypertension, 900 individuals were included, and they were required to wear a monitoring device.
Based on the results of the study, 16% of the participants who were initially diagnosed with “normal” blood pressure at the clinic showed different results after further monitoring.
Joseph Schwartz, a professor of psychiatry and sociology at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, NY, said that among the participants, working individuals who do not receive treatment for hypertension had been shown to have higher ambulatory pressure than clinic blood pressure.
Schwartz also emphasized that additional studies should focus on finding ways to lower ambulatory blood pressures.
As is commonly known, high blood pressure is associated with higher risks of developing stroke, heart failure, loss of vision, and kidney failure. Moreover, the health condition also causes thousands of deaths every year.
Ambulatory blood pressure is the blood pressure measured when a person is walking. According to the authors of the study, measuring ambulatory blood pressure may serve better in identifying health conditions compared with clinical blood pressure.
Difference in the measured ambulatory and clinic blood pressure may be more common with young, lean people. However, such difference is reduced as a person ages and reach the age of 60 or when an overweight person becomes obese.
Though monitoring the blood pressure of people for 24 hours may have good effects, it is not entire possible for all individuals.
Meanwhile, for people with high cholesterol, are overweight, or has a family with a history of hypertension, having diagnosed with a normal blood pressure inside the clinic may pose some benefits.
According to Dr. Gerald Fletcher, a spokesman for the American Heart Association, results of recent studies demystify the belief that ambulatory blood pressure tend to lower than clinic blood pressure. The origins of such belief can be traced back to the “white-coat-effect.” In white-coat-effect, it is said that a patient’s blood pressure tends to increase when inside the doctor’s clinic because of anxiety.
In the abovementioned study, the participants’ blood pressures were measured thrice during each three of the three clinical visits. The total blood pressure measurement is nine. The ambulatory blood pressures of the participants were also monitor within 24 hours. The readings were taken every after 30 minutes.
Participants of the study all belong to the working class and were not taking any blood pressure medication in the course of the study. The mean age was 45, and 80% were Caucasian. The study excluded retired and older people because their age group has higher chances of having high blood pressure.
Those who have already experienced having their blood pressure taken know that the measurement includes two numbers: the top number, which represents the systolic pressure or the pressure in the arteries during pumping of the blood from the heart, and the bottom number, which indicates the diastolic pressure or the pressure between heartbeats. The unit for blood pressure is mmHg.
Based on the data provided by the American Heart Association, the measurement of a normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg.
In general, results of the said study show that 16% of the participants have high blood pressure based on the results for their ambulatory blood pressure.
In addition, it was also shown that the ambulatory blood pressure was higher than clinic blood pressure by about 7 mmHg. Meanwhile, during the 24-hour monitoring period, diastolic pressure was 2 mmHg higher than that was measured during clinic appointments.
On the other hand, 1/3 of the participants showed a 10 mmHg higher systolic pressure during the 24- hour monitoring period compared with that was measured during clinic appointments. The same observation was observed for diastolic pressure of 1/10 participants.
Fortunately, high blood pressure is manageable. Hypertensive people can manage their condition by taking medications, following a healthy, and doing physical exercises. However, the only problem is that hypertensive people do not usually know that they have such condition because they do not feel anything out of the ordinary. Thus, people are advised to have their blood pressure monitored regularly to determine whether they have high blood pressure.