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Advice from the BP Measurement Experts

Check out our latest Hypertension related blog articles. 

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

hypertension bp suntech

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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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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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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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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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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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Why is Ambulatory Blood Pressure Not Used for Routine Hypertension Diagnosis in the US?

Man undergoing a Stress Blood Pressure Test

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) - a procedure in which a patient wears an automatic blood pressure device for 24 hours as readings are taken every 30-60 minutes - is a widely used hypertension diagnostic tool in many countries, but not the US.

Traditionally, blood pressure (BP) measurement is largely confined to the doctor's office, using manual measurements to provide a snapshot of a patient's blood pressure and cardiovascular risk.

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Can Music Improve Data from Stress BP Tests?

 

Man undergoing a Stress Blood Pressure Test

Anyone who has had a stress test knows that stress tests are not easy and can even be painful! The commonly-used Bruce protocol for treadmill exercise tests includes 7 stages of 3 minutes each. The first stage starts at a 10% grade at a speed of 1.7 miles per hour. Each stage increases by 2% and between 5-9 miles per hour. Even though a stress test can last for over 20 minutes, most people don't last longer than seven minutes on the treadmill. However, it is important to keep going as long as possible to collect lots of data and be sure to reach the target heart rate. Each additional minute of a stress test could yield important information about the heart's condition.

 

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3 Ways to Better Care for Senior Animals

 

 

Woman with pet dogs

As beloved pets age, it can be difficult to know how their health care needs to change so we will be discussing 3 ways to better care for senior animals. After all, your cat or dog can’t tell you what he or she is feeling. To stay on top their health into old age, it is important to adjust their veterinary care as needed, including going to the vet more often. Here are a few tips for ensuring that your furry friend receives top notch senior health care.

 

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3 Symptoms of Untreated Hypertension in Dogs

 

Dog with Vet

Just like humans, dogs can have hypertension, which is higher than normal blood pressure. The best way to prevent hypertension in your pet is through a healthy diet and exercise. The risk of high blood pressure increases as the animal ages. One study found that up to 10% of dogs may suffer from high blood pressure1!

 

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The Challenges of Veterinary Care in an Animal Shelter

 

Picture of a Dog behind a fence at a shelter

This past week my colleague, Jacinta McGlone, and I visited the Wake County SPCA located in Raleigh, NC. While there, we spoke with Staff Veterinarian Dr. Anna Boswell and Medical Assistant Allison Baker at the shelter. These ladies provided us valuable information on their ongoing battle to save countless animals' lives.

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5 Factors That Can Affect Your Pet’s Blood Pressure Readings

Female Vet with Cat

A blood pressure check is one of the first procedures done when you go to the doctor. So it should be no surprise that your veterinarian will likely check your pet’s blood pressure, too!

It is becoming more and more common for vets to regularly check blood pressure at every checkup. However, many pet owners do not realize that their pet’s blood pressure is constantly changing in response to many factors. Being aware of these factors and ensuring that your pet is comfortable in its environment will help the vet to get the most accurate blood pressure reading. Here is a list of 5 factors that may cause significant changes in your pet’s blood pressure:

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