Blood pressure measurement is a routine task in most practices, but are you sure it’s done accurately in yours? It’s easy to get skewed results if clinicians and patients aren’t on the same page about how to take accurate blood pressure measurements. This infographic offers a simple way to help your patients and practice get the most accurate results.

More ways to improve

Observe National High Blood Pressure Education Month by sharing this infographic with your practice team and patients so they understand how seemingly minor factors can affect their blood pressure measurements.

The American Medical Association shared three important questions to ask patients when measuring blood pressure:

    1. “Were you rushing to get here or physically active right before this appointment?” Multiple factors can influence blood pressure measurement, so patients should have time to rest before you check their blood pressure and should be sitting quietly. Use the chart at right to make sure the patient’s blood pressure isn’t falsely elevated.
    2. “Have you been taking your medication?” If patients are on medication for high blood pressure, it’s important to know if they’re actually taking it. Costs, complicated regimens and side effects can all be reasons why patients stop using their medication, so make sure you discuss any factors that prevent them from sticking to their plan.
    3. “What’s your diet and physical activity regimen like?” If a patient doesn’t choose healthy foods or abstains from physical activity, find out why. Direct him or her to community resources that can help with proper diet and exercise. Explain how eating healthy foods and staying active can help lower blood pressure.

Why you should take action

The number of hypertension-related deaths in the United States increased by 66 percent over the past decade, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To put that in perspective, the number of deaths from all other causes combined increased only 3.5 percent during that period.

The AMA’s Improving Health Outcomes initiative is taking steps to reverse this trend.

Through this initiative, the AMA and participating physicians and care teams are working with researchers at the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality and the Johns Hopkins Center to Eliminate Cardiovascular Health Disparities to develop and test evidence-based blood pressure recommendations and provide practical tools for physician practices.

Originally published by the AMA Wire®, The one graphic you need for accurate blood pressure reading on May 4, 2015

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