Your ‘Hypertension’ Diagnosis – Get a Second Opinion

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Your ‘Hypertension’ Diagnosis – Get a Second Opinion

Feeling dizzy? Have you just been diagnosed with high blood pressure and taken medication? Check your blood pressure again! Even better, have a professional nurse answer with a stethoscope and a sphygmomanometer to take your blood pressure. A normal blood pressure reading should be 120/80. Blood pressure readings that are higher than for the period described may lead your doctor to diagnose your ICD-10 (I10) billing code as hypertension. My concern is a double question; did the person measuring blood pressure use an automated machine, and did he/she use the correct technique? It’s no mystery or unknown that some technicians will do their jobs better than others. This worries me a lot.

Use technology when measuring blood pressure. The equipment used is the most important. I say this because automatic machines will give you a false reading compared to stethoscopes and blood pressure monitors. Using a stethoscope and sphygmomanometer, the technician can auscultate or hear the first “plop,” which is the systolic blood pressure number when the blood vessel begins to open, and measure the pressure on the vessel wall as the heart beats. The last “plop” is the diagnostic number; the blood vessels are open, and blood pressure is measured here when the heart rests between beats. This presents a higher systolic than diastolic reading. This reading can determine a person’s blood pressure. The diagnosis of high blood pressure or low blood pressure or normal is more accurate when heard through a stethoscope. I believe this method is more reliable and should be used for diagnosis rather than using automated machines.

Automatic sphygmomanometers: Automatic sphygmomanometers are reliable if the baseline for personal stress (by using a stethoscope and sphygmomanometer) has been established; otherwise, the readings will be ambiguous. Automatic machines provide “quick, quick, hastily” readings that may be correct, but more often than not, wrong. Some automatic machines may give more accurate readings than others; most will not even read the same information from the same person using the same arm at the same time. I have not researched these machines, but I have fallen victim to the automated machines used in my doctor’s office. To summarize the use of automatic blood pressure machines… readings can be wrong and should never be used for diagnosis, especially those used on the wrist.

Oh, I know people are saying, “hospitals use machines all the time, so they must be somewhat reliable”. correct! The machines used in hospitals and other acute care facilities are of a different caliber than those used in doctors’ offices and clinics. Look, I’m not saying don’t trust the machines; I’m saying educate yourself about your blood pressure and how it’s measured in every capacity.

Technology: Technology of healthcare professionals should be noted and condemned, not automated machines or traditional ways. For example, blood pressure should never be measured with a bulky sleeve due to clothing. The cuffs should start to fit snugly, neither tight nor loose. Rubber air tubes should be placed in the elbow space, not the back or elsewhere. By auscultation, the bell of the stethoscope should also be placed directly below the trachea. For accurate auscultation with a stethoscope, the area should be quiet.

My Experience: In 2013, my doctor diagnosed me with high blood pressure. I question it. I had my blood pressure measured repeatedly for six months, and sure enough, it never showed a high reading. So, I stopped taking the medicine. I was on a small dose of lisinopril at the time and I was coughing like hell anyway. By the way, the cough stopped about two weeks after stopping lisinopril. That was the worst experience ever! Sorry, people need to know this too.

I went back to the doctor’s office for my diabetes checkup and noticed that the office assistant’s technology had reduced my stress and the reading was high. Well, the technology is so far away that I don’t trust the readings. The doctor asked me if I was taking blood pressure medication and I replied, “No, because I don’t have high blood pressure”. Then he started looking at what was going on for the day and assured me I had high blood pressure and asked me to take medication to lower it or bring it back to normal. I said, “OK,” but had no intention of taking the drug. I again monitored my own blood pressure with a nurse (my nurse) using a stethoscope and a sphygmomanometer. I have a stress reading of 122/84 (ishes) and am not on any medication medication. My baseline is textbook (120/80). I know this.

So on my next visit I noticed the tech mistakenly applied the automatic machine and cuff again and my pressure readings went up again and at the same time as that visit the doctor thought he was going to send me to a specialist Diabetes teaching and stabilization. On my first visit, the office assistant took my blood pressure with a stethoscope and a sphygmomanometer, and the readings were normal. The doctor comes in and says ‘well, I don’t think you have high blood pressure, but keep monitoring it and let us know if it’s above 140. I said of course.

Time passed, about a year or so, normal pressure was recorded every three months until one visit, and it read high even with conventional equipment, but I don’t recall the technique.

It read high and the doctor prescribed me Losartan 50mg once a day. I had to take my first dose on a short vacation so I couldn’t monitor my stress until I took it. I was driving home from Arkansas and realized I couldn’t feel the sidewalk while driving; I was so dizzy that I had to pull over and rest until the dizziness subsided, nearly an hour. I’m sure I don’t have high blood pressure, I’m nonfunctional and debilitated because I’m on an unnecessary antihypertensive drug and have decided not to take losartan until I see my doctor again.

The next time my husband and I go to the doctor’s office for our annual physical, the nurse’s assistant there uses an automated machine. His blood pressure is always normal. After visiting the same doctor with the same office help, he was told that his blood pressure needed to be monitored as it was showing HIGH. Why? Because an office help, a medical assistant, a nurse assistant, or even a nurse took his blood pressure wrong? I know she did it because the same person took mine and it had a high reading too. I was shocked to think that this couldn’t really happen. I was thinking, “Is this what’s going on in the world? Maybe this country is just greedy for money or drugs?” I was thinking, “Do I need to warn the public about this casual blood pressure attitude?” I was thinking , “Am I going to blow the whistle on all the insurance companies that pay for these abominable high blood pressure diagnoses and drugs?”. The warmest part of my heart leads me to write about my experience because it can happen more often than it should and people need to know.

This is no small belief. It’s more realistic than the footprints of Sasquatch that I’ve never seen but others seem to have. But those who have been through similar experiences reflect on their experiences and hope to add luster to this cause of public awareness.

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