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  • Cameron Oglesby

You may not have high blood pressure after all

Almost half of all American adults are classified with high blood pressure – over 130 systolic or 80 diastolic. But it turns out that a good many of those classifications may be erroneous.

Your blood pressure reading depends on how you're sitting, and what you're sitting on when your blood pressure is taken.

American Heat Association and American College of Cardiology guidelines call for a patient to be seated on a chair, feet flat on the floor, their back supported, and the arm with the blood pressure cuff supported at heart level.

But that isn't always the case.

Rushed healthcare professionals often take blood pressure with patients sitting on examining tables. This leaves their feet dangling and their back unsupported. To make matters worse, this position makes it hard to both elevate the cuff to heart level and read it at the same time. (See photo above.)

As a result, people are getting diagnosed with higher blood pressure when they don't have it. One recent study found that systolic blood pressures averaged 7mmHG higher, and diastolic 4 mmHG higher, than those taken following AHA guidelines. That's enough to misclassify millions of people as having hypertension whose blood pressure was actually within the normal range.

And being misclassified as having high blood pressure can lead to "people undergoing treatment who don't need it," said Dr. Randy Wexler, a primary care physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, who led the survey. "People may not need to be on as much medication, which has side effects."

That, in turn, can lead to pushing their blood pressure too low, a condition known as hypotension, whose side effects include dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting, and can lead to falls.

There are too many times when even professionals cut corners. That's one thing we at Senior Insights take the time not to do. We take the time in our three part needs assessment to learn not only about a prospective client's physical health , but their cognitive and psychosocial health as well. We take the time to confer with their family about their caregiving needs, and with client about their hobbies, interests, and values.And we take the time for our monthly checkups to be much more than superficial.

If that sounds like what you're looking for, why not contact us?

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