NICE is planning to introduce extra blood pressure checks it says could reduce the number of people under 40 diagnosed with high blood pressure.
Under the health watchdog’s guidelines, if blood pressure measurements taken during a consultation are 140/90 mmHg or higher, then extra confirmation should be obtained with either ambulatory blood pressure monitoring or home blood pressure monitoring.
It says the move will allow clinicians to get a more accurate picture of a patient’s true blood pressure reading.
Doctors are also urged to examine the lifetime possibility of heart attack or stroke when deciding to exclude a patient from treatment.
The change will prevent people receiving treatment when they do not need it.
Blood pressure in a clinic can often rise as patients become anxious in front of a doctor.
There are more than 8.5m people in the UK diagnosed with high blood pressure but many more are undiagnosed.
In 2008, 32% of men and 29% of women in England had high blood pressure (defined as a systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or over, or a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or over) or were being treated for the condition.
The NICE proposals are open to consultation.
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