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NICE to update blood pressure guide

December 30, 2011
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Published on Friday 30 December 2011 08:37

New approaches should be used to treat and diagnose high blood pressure, according to draft guidelines today published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). The proposed changes include lending patients a monitor device to be worn at home for 24 hours to confirm blood pressure, and using revised criteria to decide when a patient should be given medication.

The extensive new guidelines, which are still subject to revision, come as part of a routine NICE review of the options available for treating high blood pressure, medically known as hypertension. People with the condition may not show any outward symptoms but may have problems such as kidney damage and an increased risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

The move towards monitoring at home is in part designed to bypass the “white coat effect”, the phenomenon where nervousness causes certain patients to experience a temporary rise in blood pressure when being tested by a doctor. NICE has also re-examined the evidence for treatment of specific groups, such as people aged over 80 and people with high blood pressure that is resistant to medication.

 

What is the white coat effect?

It is thought that up to a quarter of patients experience a temporary increase in blood pressure while having their blood pressure measured by their doctor. This can potentially suggest that a patient has high blood pressure when it would be within a healthy range during everyday life. The effect can also make it appear that an individual’s high blood pressure is worse than it is. The effect is more common in older people and among pregnant women.


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Article source: http://www.chichester.co.uk/news/health/nice_to_update_blood_pressure_guide_1_2438783

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