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High blood pressure? Get a second opinion

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Around half of family doctors are using manual tensiometers to measure blood pressure readings, a survey of Canadian physicians has discovered. Instead, they should be using automatic devices that are more accurate, say researchers from the University of Montreal.

Sometimes the manual devices are faulty, but it could also be down to the doctor who should be taking two readings around 15 minutes apart, and few have the time to do that, says lead researcher Janusz Kacrorowski.

Automatic devices eliminate the risk of ‘white coat syndrome’, when a patient’s blood pressure rises because of the stress of being in the doctor’s surgery.

Although the devices are more expensive, it would eliminate the cost of antihypertensive drugs that are being wrongly prescribed.

(Source: Canadian Family Physician, 2017; 63: e193-9)

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