Blood Pressure Guidelines For UK To Include Home Checks
New blood pressure guidelines for England and Wales recommend that patients be monitored for 24 hours to avoid misdiagnosis of high blood pressure due to anxiety in the surgery.
About a quarter of people become anxious while they have their blood pressure taken in the surgery, meaning they potentially give an inaccurate reading, reports The Telegraph.
This wrongly pushes many into the high blood pressure zone, a phenomenon known as white coat hypertension.
This means up to three million people could be taking drugs needlessly or in incorrect doses.
Now the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has produced definitive guidelines so doctors can diagnose the condition more accurately.
They recommend that when a patient is deemed hypertensive in the surgery, they are sent home with an ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) device, The Telegraph reports.
The machine comprises an arm cuff and a small belt-clip monitor box containing a timer, compressor and computer chip, which can be worn during everyday activities.
Patients wear them for 24 hours and readings are automatically taken every half an hour during waking hours. The information is then downloaded on to the surgery computer.
Bryan Williams is a professor of medicine at Leicester University, who chaired the guidelines panel.