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Jun 20, 2016

Wearable Monitor Helps Identify Patients with High Blood Pressure

Home blood pressure monitoring helps identify “masked” hypertension in black adults, finds study.

A 24–hour home blood pressure monitor helps better identify patients at risk for hypertension, according to a study of black adults in Jackson, MS.

Published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, this study looked at “masked” hypertension, which occurs when patients have normal blood pressure readings in the doctor’s office but high blood pressure at home. Masked hypertension increases risk for high blood pressure and heart disease, and is especially common among blacks.

A total of 317 people participated in the study, all of whom had their blood pressure checked in the office and at home at the start of the study. Although none of the participants had high blood pressure based on their office visit, home blood pressure readings found that 45% of participants had some form of masked hypertension.

After following participants for roughly eight years, nearly 60% of all participants were diagnosed with high blood pressure. After analysis, researchers found that participants with masked hypertension were more than twice as likely to develop high blood pressure as those without normal home blood pressure readings.

Findings confirm that masked hypertension is, in fact, very common among black adults. Nearly half of study participants had masked hypertension, which is difficult to diagnose without home blood pressure monitoring. Perhaps most concerning, findings suggest that masked hypertension more than doubles risk for developing high blood pressure.

Therefore, authors encourage increased use of home blood pressure monitoring, particularly in blacks. It’s clear that single blood pressure readings don’t provide a complete picture of a patient’s blood pressure, especially over the course of a day. Through wearable monitors, doctors can better identify patients with masked hypertension and provide earlier treatment to help improve outcomes.

Questions for You to Consider

  • What is hypertension?
  • Hypertension, often referred to as high blood pressure, occurs when the force of blood against the artery walls is too high. High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer,” because it often causes no symptoms and if left uncontrolled, increases risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • What is a healthy blood pressure?

  • For adults, a healthy blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg. Blood pressure is considered elevated between 120–139 mmHg systolic (top number) or between 80–89 mmHg diastolic. Chronic high blood pressure, known as hypertension, occurs when systolic blood pressure is more than 140 mmHg or the diastolic systolic blood pressure is more than 90 mmHg.

Featured Video

Hypertension is another way to say "high blood pressure." A patient has hypertension if their readings are above 140 over 90. With medication, the right diet, and a few lifestyle changes, however, hypertension can be managed.

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