SRINAGAR: “Far too many people are being wrongly diagnosed with high blood pressure that leads to unnecessary drug treatments,” said Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Monday.
“More than a quarter of patients being treated for high blood pressure actually don’t have it,” DAK president Dr Nisar ul Hassan said in a statement. “Your blood pressure is higher when it is taken in a medical setting than it is when taken at home.”
Dr Nisar said this is because of white-coat effect which happens as you are nervous about having your blood pressure checked by a doctor. “This nervous surge in blood pressure affects up to 30 percent of the population,” he informed.
He said most of the doctors are still using manual devices to measure blood pressure, a dated technology that often leads to misdiagnosis.
“It is now recommended to use automatic devices that are precise and accurate and have the advantage of eliminating the white-coat effect,” he said.
DAK President alleged that clinicians do not follow the guidelines while measuring blood pressure leading to inaccurate results. “To take blood pressure the right way, a 12 to 15 minute period is required to allow patients to relax. However most visits are rushed resulting in misleading readings,” he said.
“The use of wrong size blood pressure cuff is incredibly common. Using an inappropriate cuff significantly distorts BP readings. Small cuffs are being used for larger arms that result in higher readings,” he added.
Dr Nisar said the inaccurate high blood pressure labels subjects people to needless adverse effects of drugs and financial implications are considerable.
He said the new guidelines for blood pressure stresses the importance of using proper technique to measure blood pressure and recommend use of home blood pressure monitoring using validated devices and highlight the value of appropriate training of health-care providers to reveal white-coat effect.