When Blood Pressure Readings Aren't Accurate

Blood pressure may be normal in clinic but high during daily activities

(RxWiki News) Your blood pressure in the clinic may not reflect your blood pressure outside the clinic, according to a new study.

Some people may have what's referred to as masked hypertension, this study found. That means they might have a normal blood pressure level at the clinic when they're having their blood pressure checked but higher blood pressure (hypertension) during their everyday lives.

The Stony Brook University researchers behind this study noted that the idea is contrary to the common belief in "white-coat hypertension," which describes higher blood pressure readings in the clinic due to anxiety from the test.

Untreated hypertension can lead to health problems like heart disease and stroke.

These researchers monitored more than 880 adults and compared their blood pressure readings in the clinic to readings during daily activities.

Nearly 16 percent of the participants who had normal blood pressure readings in the clinic had high blood pressure during their daily activities.

These findings may not apply to those already diagnosed with high blood pressure or those being treated for high blood pressure, these researchers noted. 

Your doctor will determine the best way to accurately measure your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about how to keep your blood pressure within normal levels.

This study was published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences funded this research. Information on potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.