Hypertension not so simple

September 25, 2012, Elsevier

A recently published editorial in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension (JASH), "Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring Should Be Included in the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES)," recognizes the importance of this national survey instrument but questions the efficiency of its diagnostic methods in assessing hypertension in the population.

Since the 1960s, CDC has utilized traditional blood pressure screening using a sphygmomanometer to measure the pressure (a diagnostic instrument used since 1880). Drs. William B. White, President of the American Society of Hypertension, Inc. (ASH), Thomas D. Giles, a Past President of ASH, and colleagues have expressed concern regarding this methodology and its limitations in accurately detecting hypertension in patients. Their editorial strongly recommends that the CDC utilize a more sensitive and specific tool for assessing blood pressure in its national surveys.

Their recommendation for improving national statistics on hypertension is the inclusion of ambulatory BP monitoring in the NHANES' methodology. Among many physicians and hypertension specialists, ambulatory BP monitoring has been recognized as a superior and accurate method for detecting hypertension. The utilization of this advanced may bring to light many mitigating factors that affect the proper diagnosis of this condition, such as white coat hypertension, resistant hypertension, and nocturnal hypertension. Leading hypertension specialists around the country recognize that ABPM can not only detect hypertension in cases in which the disease actually exists, but also identify who is really in control and who is not.

As a supplement to clinical office blood pressure measurements, ABPM allows physicians and to properly diagnose patients. As a screening tool used in national health surveys, ABPM will provide for a more accurate representation of the hypertension epidemic in America, thus allowing for the development of more appropriate national health initiatives to decrease rates of uncontrolled hypertension.

On September 4, 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified hypertension as the leading cardiovascular disease risk factor in its most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The numbers presented in the and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) report painted a rather worrisome picture of the nation's health status in relation to and its deleterious effects, noting that

  • roughly 36 million people have uncontrolled high blood pressure, about 26 million with uncontrolled blood pressure have seen a doctor at least twice the past year
  • nearly 22 million know they have high blood pressure, but don't have it under control
  • 16 million take medicine, but still don't have their under control

Explore further: Over half of U.S. adults with HTN do not have it under control

More information: "Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring should be included in the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES)," by Thomas G. Giles, MD, Henry R. Black, MD, Franz Messerli, MD, William B. White, MD, Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, Volume 6/Issue 5 (September/October 2012), dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jash.2012.07.002

Related Stories

Over half of U.S. adults with HTN do not have it under control

September 5, 2012
(HealthDay)—Of U.S. adults with hypertension, more than half have uncontrolled hypertension, yet the majority report having a usual source of care and health insurance, according to a study published in the Sept. 4 early-release ...

Hypertension control in Canada has improved significantly

May 16, 2011
Treatment and awareness of hypertension in Canada have improved significantly in the last 25 years for community-dwelling adults, states an article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Relation of poor sleep quality to resistant hypertension

September 21, 2012
For people who already have high blood pressure, insomnia can have serious consequences, according to a new study presented at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions.

Recommended for you

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

January 10, 2018
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery ...

Place of residence linked to heart failure risk

January 9, 2018
Location. Location. Location.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.