Instead of having repeated blood pressure tests at a GP surgery, it has been recommended for the first time by The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which provides guidance to medical practitioners, that patients in England and Wales should have their blood pressure monitored at home to take regular readings over a specific period of time.
By monitoring blood pressure at home it would help identify individuals with 'white coat hypertension' whereas the pressure of being tested in the GP clinic can elevate their blood pressure for a short period of time, but does not mean they have hypertension.
Cathy Ross, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, explained:
"The number of individuals with high blood pressure in the UK is staggering. Some 12 million people are diagnosed with the condition and it is estimated another 5.7million people have it but are unaware. It's a major risk factor for heart disease and strokes so it's crucial we do all we can to get people diagnosed and properly treated as soon as possible.Statement issued in response to new guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on the diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure published on Wednesday 24 August, 2011. The guidance is available at this link.
This new guidance will refine the way we test and treat people for hypertension, particularly by helping to identify people suffering from 'white coat hypertension'.
It doesn't mean that current methods aren't working, only that they can be improved further. Anyone currently concerned about their blood pressure or treatment, should speak to their GP or practice nurse."
Written by Grace Rattue