Home blood pressure test recommended to diagnose hypertension

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Monitoring people’s blood pressure at home rather than having repeated tests at a GP surgery has been recommended for patients in England and Wales.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which provides guidance to medical practitioners, has for the first time recommended using home monitoring to take regular readings over specific time period.

This would help identify people with ‘white coat hypertension’ where the stress of being tested in a GP surgery can cause their blood pressure to rise for a short period, but does not mean they have hypertension.

Cathy Ross, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “The number of people 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.

“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.”

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