Advice from the BP Measurement Experts
While many people view blood pressure as simply two numbers, the importance of accurate blood pressure measurement continues to gain visibility. Typically, problems associated with high blood pressure cause us to think about heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and diabetes, but there is another negative effect of hypertension. This week, U.S. researchers released information that suggests people as young as 45 with high blood pressure are much more likely to have memory troubles. The indicating factor was a high diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number).
"Researchers studied nearly 20,000 people 45 and older who had never had a stroke or mini-stroke -- a common cause of memory problems. More than 7 percent had memory problems, and nearly half were taking medication for high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is defined as a reading of 140/90 or above.
For every 10 point increase in the bottom blood pressure reading, the odds of a person having cognitive problems increased by 7 percent, the researchers found."
The data also suggests that aggressive early treatment of high blood pressure may pay huge dividends. In order to accurately diagnose and treat high blood pressure, the readings must be accurate, reliable, and trusted.
In many cases, manual blood pressures taken with a handheld or wall aneroid have an extremely rapid deflate rate much greater than the recommended 2-3 mmHg per second. Deflating too quickly will result in an inaccurate reading for both systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
To combat this issue, selecting a blood pressure monitor with a controlled deflate can lead to more accurate results. Look for automated devices with a manual backup mode to allow a practitioner to verify a reading with their own stethoscope to "double check" for accuracy. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, or even memory loss and providing accurate results is critical to proper diagnosis and management.