African Americans Need 24-hour Blood Pressure Checks

By Dr. Will Boggs

Originally published on Reuters Health

Measuring blood pressure outside the clinic using 24-hour monitoring equipment is important for identifying and managing hypertension in AfricanAmericans, a new study shows.

That’s because measurements in doctors’ offices and clinics may not accurately reflect blood pressure levels that a person experiences at home, work, and while asleep – and this may be a particularly important issue for African-Americans, researchers say.

Higher daytime and nighttime blood pressure measured outside the doctor’s office is associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, and death, they explain.

“Blood pressure varies in a complex and irregular way even at steady-state condition,” Dr. Yuichiro Yano from Duke University, Durham, North Carolina told Reuters Health.

“Our study suggests that higher blood pressure measurements outside versus inside the clinic had stronger association with cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality,” said Yano, who worked on the study. “This means that, even if your blood pressure levels are not in the hypertensive range when measured in the clinic but in the hypertensive range when measured outside of the clinic, you may have a high risk for cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality.”

African American individuals are more likely than individuals with other racial/ethnic background to have hypertension and its consequences, and they have been shown to have higher daytime and nighttime blood pressure levels than white or Asian individuals.

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