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Advice from the BP Measurement Experts

Can Sleep Quality Impact Your Blood Pressure?

Could poor sleep or not enough sleep lead to an increase in your blood pressure (BP)? It’s not fully understood how and why, but it’s thought that sleep helps regulate stress hormones and helps your nervous system to remain healthy.  Over time, lack of sleep could hurt your body’s ability to regulate stress hormones, leading to high blood pressure (hypertension).1

Dr. Michael Grandner, Director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona, says, “Hypertension is a key cardiovascular risk factor.  There are now many studies that have been able to show that insufficient sleep and poor sleep quality are related to the development of high blood pressure and other aspects of heart disease.”  Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Those with this disorder have been found to be at higher risk of hypertension.2

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High Blood Pressure and COVID-19

NOTE: COVID-19 is an evolving public health emergency. The following information is based on currently available guidance, however, is it not intended to replace guidance from state and local health authorities or your doctor. Always consult your doctor for any health questions you may have.

It can be hard to stay on top of all the news about the coronavirus pandemic and the various symptoms and risk factors. How is blood pressure related to the risk of COVID-19? Should I keep taking my blood pressure medications? Is it too risky to go to the doctor or hospital during the pandemic? SunTech Medical, the leader in blood pressure technology and solutions, has put together the following resources to help you answer those questions and more.

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New SunTech ABPM Reimbursement FAQ for 2020

 

doctor on laptop

Revisions to CMS guidelines on ABPM reimbursement make it the perfect time to offer 24-hour out-of-office blood pressure measurement to your patients. For more information on reimbursement, see our 2020 ABPM Reimbursement FAQ.

 

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A Surprising Number of Clinicians Fail to Accurately Measure Blood Pressure

 

clinician frustrated about blood pressure results

A surprising number of clinicians fail to accurately measure  blood pressure according to a recent joint survey of more than 2,000 healthcare professionals conducted by the AMA and the American Heart Association. One of the most striking highlights were only 1 in 10 medical assistants were able to answer all 6 of the best-practice in blood pressure (BP) measurement questions.

 


According to American Medical Association (AMA) president Dr. Patrice, Harris, “Hypertension is a leading risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and preventable death in the U.S. Inaccurate blood pressure readings can lead to diagnosis errors, which means getting an accurate reading is vital to treating the condition.”

A recent study published in the journal Hypertension found an increase in high blood pressure (hypertension) cases during pregnancy. By reviewing CDC data on >151 million women between 1970 and 2010, the researchers found a 6% yearly increase in hypertension. The implications being complications for the mother, such as preeclampsia, or an increased risk of preterm birth.

Although the need for accurate BP measurement is clear, the joint survey showed the gap in BP knowledge that many healthcare professionals have. The most frequently missed best-practice question was about proper cuff-wrap-inflation, followed by proper brachial artery cuff position. Both factors are critical to getting an accurate BP reading. Even though the healthcare professionals surveyed were aware of the opportunities for error in BP measurement, BP refresher training is reported to be infrequently held.

The same AMA-AHA survey suggested that healthcare professionals believe up to 41% of BP measurements taken across all medical practices are less than 100% accurate. Although the overall error rate was acknowledged, most respondents felt that their practice was better than the norm.

To ensure an accurate reading, consider these 10 factors that can affect blood pressure readings and advice from our Clinical Manager:

  • If you have a wound, do not apply a BP cuff over, as this can cause further injury.
  • If you have had a single mastectomy, do not apply a BP cuff to the arm on that side. In the case of double mastectomy, use the side of the least dominate arm.
  • Too frequent BP measurements can cause injury due to blood flow interference.

Additional Resources:

To learn more about the basics of BP, see this TedEd on How blood pressure works by Wilfred Manzano.

Want to try your hand at taking a BP reading? Check out this BP simulation.

Sources:

https://www.ama-assn.org/press-center/press-releases/new-research-shows-need-re-training-blood-pressure-measurement

https://www.modernhealthcare.com/safety-quality/ama-aha-look-retrain-physicians-measure-blood-pressure

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/a-growing-problem-pregnancy-vs-high-blood-pressure/2019/11/08/0ff37238-fb52-11e9-ac8c-8eced29ca6ef_story.html

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Measure Your Dogs Blood Pressure on International Dog Day

 

happy corgi

It’s that time of year again and international dog day is right around the corner on August 26th!

What better way to spend this dedicated dog day than taking your pup to get their blood pressure checked?

 

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Why Does Your Cat Have High Blood Pressure?

 

sick cat1

This year on International Cat Day (August 8th), take a few minutes to learn about the most common diseases and conditions that can cause your cat to have hypertension, or high blood pressure.

 

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World Hypertension Day 2019: Know Your BP Numbers To Stay Healthy

 

world hypertension day know your numbers - image of a heart being measured

May 17th is World Hypertension Day and the theme for this year is “Know Your Numbers”. The goal of the day is increasing awareness of systolic and diastolic blood pressure values (systolic is the “top” number and diastolic is the “bottom”). If you’re like most people, your blood pressure is checked along with your temperature and weight nearly every time you see the doctor. Having your blood pressure taken has become so rudimentary for many of us that it can become easy to ignore until it becomes a problem. But what if you don’t visit the doctor regularly?

 

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New Guidelines for Measuring Blood Pressure from the American Heart Association

 

American Heart Association Logo

The American Heart Association just released a scientific statement on blood pressure (BP) measurement that outlines new guidelines for accurately measuring blood pressure. This is the first time the AHA has made significant updates to their recommendations since 2005. In the statement they describe and compare different methods of measuring BP and make many recommendations. What are the key points that a physician should learn from this new paper?

 

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Blood Pressure Averaging in the SPRINT Study

 

checking blood pressure

In my last blog, I introduced some of the claims and confusion around the NIH Sprint study but today I’d like to clear up the main point of confusion and discuss the actual blood pressure (BP) reading technique used to obtain the SPRINT study’s “research readings”.

We will be examining the SPRINT claims of benefit to medicating to a Systolic BP of 120 mmHg, but that will be for another day. Today the focus is on BP averaging, how it was implemented in the SPRINT study, and why it makes sense even if you aren’t sold on the SPRINT findings.

 

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Tips for Better User Interface and User Experience Design for Medical Devices

 

Sketches and Concepts for a UI Design For a Medical Device

Designing a better User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) for medical devices presents unique challenges not typically present in other products or applications. If you press the wrong button when ordering your mocha latte, you may not get whipped cream. If you press the wrong button when administering medicine through an infusion pump, your patient may overdose. One study showed that infusion pumps account for up to 35% of medicinal errors that result in significant harm.[1] A large percentage of those errors were attributed to poorly designed user interface. For instance: a clinician might have entered “lbs” instead of “kg” for the weight of the patient, or perhaps they did not see a decimal point on the display, or they selected the incorrect dose mode while administering medicine. That is one of the many reasons medical devices must pass through numerous regulatory tests to make sure user errors are minimized.

 

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Should You Medicate to get 120/80 Blood Pressure?

 

blood pressure medication

Should you take medication in order to acheive a Blood Pressure of 120/80? The SPRINT trial (Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial) originally published in 2015 is the NIH’s landmark blood pressure (BP) lowering trial. According to the NIH press release (bold emphasis mine),

"When SPRINT was designed, the well-established clinical guidelines recommended a systolic blood pressure of less than 140 mm Hg for healthy adults and 130 mm Hg for adults with kidney disease or diabetes. Investigators designed SPRINT to determine the potential benefits of achieving systolic blood pressure of less than 120 mm Hg for hypertensive adults 50 years and older who are at risk for developing heart disease or kidney disease." (1)

 

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Insights from AAEP 2018 (American Association of Equine Practitioners Conference)

 

Horse with Woman Rider in Field

SunTech announced just last week that a new veterinary blood pressure algorithm is under development. This new algorithm will be fine-tuned for equine physiology and will offer a non-invasive way to measure blood pressure on horses. To make the announcement, SunTech exhibited at the 64th Annual Convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners in San Francisco. I had the opportunity to attend the convention with the primary goal of better understanding how veterinarians use and measure blood pressure today in their equine patients.

 

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Top 4 Reasons PLUS Cuffs are an Innovation to the Blood Pressure Industry

 

opd plus cuffs

With the launch of SunTech’s innovative PLUS Cuff sizes, here are some of the reasons you should consider changing your blood pressure cuffs. The PLUS Cuffs were designed to specifically target the need to fit a greater range of patients – including bariatric patients, improve measurement reliability, and cut hospital costs and inventory.

 

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Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Reconsidering ABPM Reimbursement and Coverage

 

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Reconsidering ABPM Reimbursement and Coverage stethoscope with calculator

The US reimbursement guidelines for Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) may change after the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) penned a joint letter to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requesting that CMS reconsider the current ABPM guidelines.

 

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World Heart Day 2018

 

heart day 2018

September 29th is World Heart Day and the World Heart Federation is letting you share your activity on their worldwide map. Whether you are running for someone you know, spreading awareness or just getting your blood pressure checked, let the world know at world-heart-federation.org.

 

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Controlling Blood Pressure Could Reduce Cognitive Risk

 

controlling blood pressure could reduce cognitive risk

On top of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, aggressive treatment of high blood pressure has shown effectiveness in mitigating risk of mild cognitive impairment. Mild cognitive impairment is viewed as a potential precursor to Alzheimer’s and dementia. A study showed that when treating patients to reduce systolic blood pressure below 120, as opposed to below 140, the past standard target, the risk of mild cognitive impairment was reduced by 19% comparatively.

 

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Today is National Dog Day

 

Happy Dog playing with caregiver

To celebrate National Dog Day and to promote canine health, we took a look at some of the most common causes of hypertension in dogs

 

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4 Ways to Keep Your Cat Healthy and Happy

 

Happy Cat getting attention from owner

In honor of International Cat Day, we’ve put together a list of the easiest things any cat owner can do to make sure their cat is as healthy and happy as possible.

 

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New Measures for Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Health

 

Simulation of Blood Vessels in a Vein

Gone are the days where your cardiovascular health could be summed up in two numbers. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure, measured at the brachial artery, were the key tools for staving off heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular disease (CVD). Have a BP of under 140/90? Great! You are going to live a long and healthy life. Over 140/90? Time to watch your salt and medicate away. While lowering BP in hypertensive patients has been proven to be an effective intervention, it may not be so simple any more. Research, such as the SPRINT study, are finding benefits for managing BP in pre-hypertensive patients. With that, a new series of indices and measurements are offering more tools for doctors to measure and treat hypertension.

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May 17th is World Hypertension Day - Be Sure to Know Your Numbers

 

Woman with Heart - World Hypertension Day

On recognizing the fact that fifty percent of the world hypertensive population did not realize they had the condition, the World Hypertension League (WHL) dedicated May 17th to the promotion of hypertension awareness. Since that day in 2005, World Hypertension Day has been celebrated by offering free blood pressure readings through the volunteered efforts of numerous affiliated organizations across the globe.

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