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New Study Reveals How To Spot ‘Masked’ High Blood Pressure

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A new study has shown that around the clock monitoring could help reveal ‘masked’ hypertension in African American people. ‘Masked’ hypertension occurs when patients experience normal blood pressure readings while in the doctor’s office, but high readings at other times. This kind of hypertension can occur at anytime and is hard to catch, thus earning the name ‘masked’. It’s the opposite of white coat hypertension, where the patient experiences higher blood pressure at the doctor’s office than an home.

According to a report in Eurek Alert, the study included having 317 African Americans wear a compact high blood pressure monitoring cuff throughout the day, making sure that blood pressure can be monitored even when a patient is asleep. The participants were from the Jackson Heart Study based in Jackson Mississippi, that studies heart diseases in African Americans. The participants were monitored for approximately eight years, and the study concluded that 187 of the participants developed high blood pressure over the course of that time.

According to a report in WebMD, the study was published on May 16th in Hypertension, a journal published by the American Heart Association. Dr. Marwah Abdalla, the study author who is  a cardiologist in New York at Columbia University Medical Center said the study shows ‘ African Americans with any masked hypertension had twice the risk of developing clinic hypertension’ as compared to those who had ‘both normal clinic and normal out-of-office blood pressure’.

Our study found that African Americans with any masked hypertension had twice the risk of developing clinic hypertension when compared to those who had both normal clinic and normal out-of-office blood pressure. The risk was also high among those with masked nighttime hypertension — a condition where blood pressure is only elevated at night or while asleep. We also found that even among those with normal blood pressure for example, (less than 120 mm Hg/80 mm Hg) during a clinic visit, individuals with masked hypertension had a high risk of developing clinic hypertension.

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