Now, a new device to measure blood pressure could not only save more lives, but change the way blood pressure’s been monitored for more than a century.
One in three adults has it. If left untreated, it can become a ticking time bomb; leading to heart disease, stroke or kidney failure. It's high blood pressure, something Caroline Lee wants to avoid.
"I’d like to think that I’m really active," Caroline Lee told Ivanhoe.
Caroline gets her blood pressure checked regularly, but now she can get an even better reading by testing what’s happening in the large arteries close to her heart, known as central blood pressure. Normally, blood pressure is measured with a cuff in the upper arm for convenience, but recent studies show brachial blood pressure is not as accurate as central blood pressure for measuring your risk for disease.
"Based on the change of your central pressure, you can find out what your risk for heart diseases are," Dr. Nicole Weinberg, Cardiologist, Saint John’s Health Center, told Ivanhoe.
Being able to measure blood pressure in the aorta, which is closer to the heart and brain, is important because this is where high blood pressure can cause significant damage. Until now it could only be measured directly by surgically placing a catheter or pressure sensor into the aorta, but a new FDA approved machine, The Sphygmocor, is changing that, a sensor the size of a pen is pressed at the wrist.
"We put a probe on the radial artery and through the pressure from your heart in the radial artery we are able to measure what the central pressures are," Dr. Weinberg explained.
In minutes, doctors can recommend either life style changes or drug therapy.I don’t know what it means to have 30-year old arteries, but I’m happy about it," Caroline explained.
Now she can get back to her active lifestyle, without worrying about her blood pressure.
If you’re unable to try the new test the next time you get your blood pressure checked, make sure to get it checked in both arms. A new study published in the journal Lancet shows if the readings for the left and right arm have markedly different top numbers, it could be a sign of vascular disease and an increased risk of death.
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