Did you know that as much as 10% of the population may have high blood pressure and not even know about it?
This isn’t from a lack of testing, either. A condition doctors’ refer to as masked hypertension occurs when a patient has a normal blood pressure reading during an office visit, but exhibits high blood pressure outside of the clinic.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common condition which puts strain on your cardiovascular system and internal organs. Left untreated, it can result in serious complications.
While blood pressure tests are easy enough to administer and a routine part of any visit to the doctor’s office, blood pressure testing techniques aren’t perfect.
The main failure point of blood pressure tests is how infrequently they are administered. Getting your blood pressure read only gives you a brief snapshot of your blood pressure at the exact moment it is being read.
Blood pressure is not static. It can be highly variable and depend on all sorts of internal and environmental factors, varying throughout the day.
As a result, some individuals never get their hypertension properly diagnosed. If your blood pressure — for whatever reason — isn’t at abnormal levels when you get a blood pressure reading, you could go for extended periods with no idea that you have hypertension.
Who Should Be Concerned With Masked Hypertension?
If you have any of the high risk factors for hypertension, such as smoking, drinking, lack of exercise, obesity, or any other contributor to high blood pressure, it is worth keeping a closer eye on your blood pressure.
One warning sign can be occasional high blood pressure readings. If you find that your blood pressure is not consistently high when measured but some measurements are out of normal levels, this could be a warning sign that you have masked hypertension.
Similarly, individuals who have been diagnosed with hypertension could actually have a more severe level of hypertension than infrequent testing can reveal.
How To Determine If You Have Masked Hypertension
While you should never attempt to diagnose yourself with any medical condition, one thing that you can begin doing is monitoring your blood pressure at home.
A portable EKG monitor is a simple way to get a blood pressure reading without taking a trip to the doctor’s office. You can quickly and painlessly test your blood pressure from home with an EKG machine, letting you get multiple readings throughout the day and compiling data over the course of weeks or months.
You can compile this information into a logbook to keep an accurate record of your blood pressure over time.
If you find yourself having consistently high blood pressure levels, consult your physician. Show them your log book and your portable EKG machine. They can use this information to help diagnose you or determine a better course of treatment.
Should you be diagnosed with hypertension, you can continue using your heart monitor machine to keep close tabs on your blood pressure as you begin treatment.
Having a home EKG monitor at your disposal allows you to watch how your lifestyle affects your blood pressure. Changes to contributing factors such as diet and exercise, or cessation of smoking cannabis or drinking, can have real and noticeable effects which you can record at home using an EKG machine.
Masked hypertension has the same risk factors as hypertension in general: alcohol, tobacco, a sedentary lifestyle, and obesity, among others. It’s not exactly clear what is it that causes masked hypertension. Blood pressure is not a static value. BP will change, sometimes drastically, through the day. Infrequent testing can lead to improper blood pressure diagnosis. Even those suffering from hypertension may have better or worse pressure than what infrequent testing shows.
Hypertension is one of the most common cardiac conditions in the world today. It’s a well-known condition that affects up to 1 in 3 adults. Conventional hypertension isn’t the only thing you need to keep an eye out for, though. Masked hypertension may be much more common than people imagine. Masked hypertension (hypertension that doesn’t show symptoms at the doctor’s office) may affect up to 10% of the population, or 1 in 10 adults.
White-coat hypertension, the opposite of masked hypertension, affects patients only when they are at the doctor’s office. It can be quite vexing to deal with, especially as it may evolve into sustained hypertension. Typically, health professionals recommend monitoring white-coat hypertension. A portable EKG machine can be helpful to keep track of your BP at different times of the day. Treatment is generally not required unless it becomes sustained hypertension, or there are other risk factors.