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WVU Doctors Want You To Know About 'Gold Standard' In Blood Pressure Monitoring

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There's a new way to have your blood pressure taken. It's called Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring. It's a device that monitors your blood pressure throughout the day, instead of just once in the doctor's office. The result is much more accurate and possibly even life-saving.

It's really designed for those who suffer from so-called "white coat syndrome". They get nervous in the doctor's office, their blood pressure goes up, and the result is an inaccurate reading. Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring is different because patients wear the device for 24 hours. Their blood pressure is taken at regular intervals throughout t he day. The result is much more accurate. "To be able to get the best control, we've got to know the enemy better and with our current knowledge the better way of knowing the enemy is doing the 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring," said Dr. Ali Mirza Onder, a nephrologist at West Virginia University Hospitals.

The enemy is hypertension or chronically elevated blood pressure. It's a condition that puts us at risk for a host of life-threatening diseases. "A typical example is a patient with obstructive sleep apnea. They go to their worst times of the day at night time. Or long term diabetics that are not controlled. They may go through the worst time of their day at night time," said Dr. Onder.

Blood pressure should dip down at night. If it doesn't, the result could be deadly. "So this is a very important. Ignored, and it cannot be diagnosed other than with the use of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring criteria that needs to come into the care of patients," said Dr. Onder.

Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring has been called the "Gold Standard" to diagnose hypertension. But for now, it's only offered in certain medical settings. If you think you could benefit from this test, see your family doctor," said Dr. Rolly Sullivan with West Virginia University's School of Medicine.