People with high blood pressure can be discovered and alerted in increasing numbers if they get their high blood pressure checked by trained people at unusual places, a new study says.
A Kaiser Permanente study, published in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, examined the health records of 1,076,000 Southern California Kaiser patients over a two-year period.
The study found that 112,000 of those Southern Californians were discovered to have high blood pressure by the end of the two-year study period. It then examined where hypertension was first diagnosed — primary care physician versus other doctor.
And 17 percent of the time, the disease was first detected at non- primary care settings, including optometry, orthopedics and urology.
Trained blood pressure technicians working on ophthalmology or optometry found 25 percent of those cases. Neurology workers found 19 percent, and dermatology technicians found 13 percent of them, the Kaiser Permanente study found.
All staff members conducting blood pressure screenings in these clinical settings were certified in blood pressure measurement to ensure consistency in screenings. Patients who were screened in non-primary care settings and found to have high blood-pressure readings were sent back for follow-up visits with their primary care provider.
According to the researchers, the number of “false positives” were comparable between both settings, suggesting that blood pressure readings in non-primary care settings were as accurate as those taken in primary care settings.
“Patients who do not see their primary care providers on a regular basis may have hypertension that goes unrecognized,” said study lead author Dr. Joel Handler, the Southern California Kaiser Permanente hypertension lead researcher. “For this reason, expanding hypertension screening to non-primary care settings may be an opportunity to improve early hypertension recognition and control.”
The study indicated that patients identified with hypertension during non-primary care visits were more likely to be older, male and non-Hispanic white. In addition, these patients were also more likely to smoke and to have chronic kidney disease Researchers also found that patients with an initial high blood pressure identified during non-primary care were less likely to be obese compared to those with an initial high blood pressure identified during a primary care visit.
“The differences in the patient characteristics observed in our study suggest that expanding hypertension screening to non-primary care settings may also help identify patients who would have been missed otherwise,” said study co-author Corinna Koebnick, the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research Evaluation.
—City News Service
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: