More than half of family doctors in Canada still use hand-held devices to measure blood pressure, an outdated technology that sometimes leads to misdiagnosis, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University Hospital Center Research Center Of Montreal (CRCHUM).
About 20 percent of people who are receiving treatment for hypertension do not really have a problem and would not need medication, especially because blood pressure has been poorly measured, says the lead author of the study , Janusz Kaczorowski, University of Montreal.
Blood pressure is considered normal when the systolic pressure is less than 140 mmHg and the diastolic pressure is less than 90 mmHg. Above these values, a person is said to be hypertensive.
In the spring of 2016, Janusz Kaczorowski’s team conducted a survey of family physicians in Canada: 52 percent of the 769 respondents reported using a hand-held blood pressure meter to measure blood pressure. Only 43 percent prefer an automatic device. In 2016, however, Hypertension Canada’s Clinical Practice Guideline found that electronic measurement is preferable to manual measurement.
In Canada, one in five adults is hypertensive and this condition is the most important overall risk factor for mortality and disability. The cost of hypertension for the Canadian health care system was estimated at more than $ 13 billion in 2010.
The Hypertension Canada Clinical Practice Guide states that changing health behaviors is an effective way to prevent and treat hypertension and also to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It is possible to lower blood pressure by a healthy diet, regular physical activity, moderate alcohol consumption, decreased dietary sodium intake, non-exposure to tobacco, and management of stress.
The study “How do family physicians measure blood pressure in routine clinical practice? A National Survey of Canadian Family Physicians “was published on March 14, 2017 in Canadian Family Physician.