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Several years ago, one of my girlfriends who was maybe 30 years old at the time called me to ask me how to lower her blood pressure because she had been prescribed blood pressure medication. My friend was in excellent physical condition. She exercised at least four times per week. She was in perfect BMI range for her height so I was shocked when she called and told me about her prescription.
I asked how many times had the doctor taken her blood pressure before prescribing the medication and she told me, "Once." I told her before a correct diagnosis of high blood pressure can be made blood pressure needs to be taken on three separate occasions.
The definition of blood pressure, medically known as hypertension, as stated by NIH’s MedlinePlus, is a measurement of the force against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood through your body. It is important to manage blood pressure because it is the precursor to heart disease which is the leading cause of death globally. It increases the risk for heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and organ damage including vision and kidney damage.
The purpose of taking several different readings is to establish that there is a pattern of high blood pressure in the body before giving medication. Since blood pressure changes moment to moment depending on what is happening to you, it is important to make sure you have it as a pattern instead of an individual instance.
For example many patients experience “white coat effect” which is an elevation of blood pressure in the doctor’s office, usually because of anxiety about going into a clinical setting, or concerns about their health. Britain’s Health Cost Watchdog has released new guidelines designed to better diagnose and treat patients with high blood pressure.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that patients use an ambulatory monitor to monitor their blood pressure several times over a 24 hour period while they are in their normal environment to see if they have elevated blood pressure and need to be treated for it. The study found that better treatments were made for the participants of monitoring.