HOME BLOOD PRES­SURE MON­I­TORS MAY BE IN­AC­CU­RATE

Over-de­pen­dence on a sin­gle device for health checkup could be fa­tal.

Alive - - Health - ■ by G.V. Joshi

Ram Narayan, (not his real name) a mid­dle aged small busi­ness­man was suf­fer­ing from high blood pres­sure (BP) and was pre­scribed a tablet to be taken at 10 am and to keep a record of his BP ev­ery day in the morn­ing by his fam­ily doc­tor.

As it was very in­con­ve­nient to visit a dis­pen­sary, for mea­sur­ing his BP at this hour, he pur­chased a Digital Blood Pres­sure Mon­i­tor (DBPM) of a well­known brand and used it to mea­sure his BP.

On the next visit, his doc­tor was happy to see the record and re­duced the dose. But on the next visit, his BP was found to be very high. His doc­tor mea­sured the BP with his mer­cury BP me­ter and found it high. He then mea­sured the BP with the Ram Narayan’s DBPM and much to his sur­prise found the BP lower than his ob­ser­va­tion.

Many peo­ple, es­pe­cially those suf­fer­ing with heart dis­ease, di­a­betes, kid­ney dis­or­ders and preg­nancy-in­duced hy­per­ten­sion, in In­dia use home DBPMs to closely watch their blood pres­sure. In ad­di­tion, many peo­ple who suf­fer from white coat hy­per ten­sion (high blood pres­sure [BP]) use them. The BP of such per­sons in­creases ab­nor­mally in pres­ence of a doc­tor wear­ing a white coat. How­ever, all of them be­lieve that the read­ings are cor­rect and give a true pic­ture of their blood pres­sure.

But this is far from truth. Ac­cord­ing to Dr Pad­wal, a pro­fes­sor of Medicine at the Univer­sity of Al­berta in the USA, about 70 per­cent of home blood-pres­sure mon­i­tors tested by his team were off by 5 mil­lime­tres of Mer­cury (mmHg) or more.

That’s enough for physi­cians treat­ing the pa­tient to stop or start or mod-

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