Although white-coat hypertension is a relatively known condition where a patient’s blood pressure measured at the doctor’s office is higher than when measured outside the clinic, masked hypertension is less known condition albeit equally risky. The opposite of white-coat hypertension, this condition affects an estimated 17 million adults in the US. Masked hypertension is when your blood pressure measurement is hypertensive (at or above 130/80 mm Hg) when taken at home, but normal (below 120/80 mm Hg) when taken at the doctor’s office. Masked hypertension is more common in men 45 years or older as well as those with diabetes.
Is masked hypertension dangerous?
Past studies have shown that people with masked hypertension have a similar cardiovascular risk as those with high clinical blood pressure, but if they don’t measure their blood pressure at home, it can remain undetected. Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even with very high blood pressure readings. Hypertension left untreated can be dangerous to your heart health resulting in health problems such as heart attack, stroke or heart failure. This is another reason why taking your blood pressure at home is vital to your heart health.
What is hypertension?
Hypertension or high blood pressure affects one out of every 3 adults in the US according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Normal blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure below 120, and a diastolic pressure below 80. Since 2017, the AHA has updated their guidelines, now stating that high blood pressure is a measurement at or above 130/80 (an update from 140/90). The exact cause of hypertension is unknown but some of the risk factors include age, alcohol consumption, smoking, lack of exercise and weight gain, among others.
What causes masked hypertension?
Masked hypertension can occur if your home or work environment is more stressful than at your doctor’s office. Use of alcohol, caffeine or cigarettes at home can also cause increased blood pressure.
How to manage masked hypertension?
Masked hypertension can be diagnosed by monitoring your blood pressure at home and comparing it to your clinical measurements, under the supervision of your doctor. With QardioArm, our smart blood pressure monitor, we make this easy. Paired with the free Qardio App, you can set reminders, use the triple measurement feature for improved accuracy and send all your health data directly to your authorized doctor so they can monitor you in and outside the hospital.