What is Pseudohypertension

Pseudohypertension is a situation in which the blood pressure measurements get abnormally elevated, when the blood pressure is still normal. It is described as a mean pressure of sphygmomanometric that exceeds intra arterial mean pressure, which is equal to or greater than 10mmHg. This type of condition which is usually suspected in elderly patients is not a common problem.

Blood pressure measurement is part the regular routine when a patient visits the doctor. One of the most common diagnoses in primary care is hypertension. Medical practitioners sometimes use an automatic cuff to measure the patient’s blood pressure. This could sometimes turn out to be a complicated issue, with potential pitfalls. One hypertension specialist, a nephrologist, never exhibit confidence in blood pressure readings taken by someone else. He uses an old mercury sphygmomanometer that he used for his entire career, and he is quite knowledgeable of his equipment and his science. Over the many years he has perfected his technique.

The blood pressure of some persons is increased every time they enter a doctor’s office. A person’s blood pressure can also go up due to recent salt intake, stress, pain and normal physical activity. A healthy person having a regular heartbeat, examined by the most expert clinician, can have uncontrollably varying blood pressure. In order to determine who has high blood pressure and who does not, several careful measurements taken in various settings would be required sometimes.

Pseudohypertension primarily occurs as a result of the unusual thickening of the walls of the arteries, on which calcium gets deposited. This makes the arteries rather stiff, making it difficult to compress. The blood pressure measurement completely depends on the force applied for compression of arteries. It therefore reasons that arteries which are not easy to compress increase the sphygmomanometer reading falsely. A patient experiences extraordinarily high blood pressure reading for a long time without any signs of damage to body organs or other complications. The intention to treat high blood pressure results in symptoms relating to low blood pressure such as nausea, reduced urine output, dizziness, vision disorder and confusion.

Pseudohypertension is suspected when the blood pressure is unusually high, and there is no resulting impairment of important target organs. This condition can be diagnosed through the use of a number of devices, such as the Osler’s maneuver or the finger blood pressure meter. The use of the Osler’s maneuver proved unreliable, as it offered poor results. Consequently its use became insignificant. The most reliable and sure method to diagnose this type of hypertension is by determining the intra arterial blood pressure. The medical practitioner inserts a needle directly in the small artery.

The risk factors associated with pseudohypertension are few, and includes a shortened life expectancy, stroke, heart failure and myocardial infraction. The good thing about pseudohypertension is that it can be avoided. The preventive measures require a change in diet and lifestyle. Reducing one’s weight and continuous aerobic exercises such as walking, running and swimming improves the blood flow and decreases the latent heart rate. It is important to avoid stress, and this can be achieved through relaxation therapy such as meditation and yoga.

Other preventive measures include a reduction in the consumption of salt and sugar, and an increase in the intake of potassium. One should also discontinue tobacco use and alcohol consumption. Adjusting your lifestyle and diet play an important role in preventing pseudohypertension.