A blood pressure monitor is now available for patients with blood pressure readings that are dangerously low, as part of a major national push to reduce the number of people with the condition.
The US Department of Health and Human Services said that the new devices, called BPV-S1, can be used to detect signs of heart attack, stroke and congestive heart failure.
“The devices are being used to monitor the levels of blood pressure and heart rate during normal physical activity, and to determine if there is any abnormality in the blood pressure,” Dr Andrew Buehner, a physician in the Department of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School, said.
“It’s very important that we get to the point where we have accurate, reliable information about the levels and severity of our patients’ conditions so that we can treat them.”
In some instances, the devices can detect a drop in blood pressure as low as 60 millilitres per decimetre, which is equivalent to a person with a normal blood pressure reading.
While the devices are more expensive than a regular monitor, the US government estimates that the devices could save patients thousands of dollars in health care costs.
Health authorities across the US have said that people with low blood pressure who are prescribed a blood pressure monitoring device can reduce their risk of developing the condition by 40 per cent.
Dr Bueher said that even in the short term, a low blood rate can be a sign of a heart attack or stroke.
“A person’s blood pressure may rise when he or she is on medication or is receiving treatment for a heart condition, but in the long term, it may indicate that the patient is in a higher risk for heart disease,” he said.
“And in some cases, when a person has a blood clot, they may have a lower blood pressure.”‘
A little bit of everything’Dr Bueshner said that while the devices might not always be used in the right context, they were important for understanding how blood pressure fluctuates over time.
“Because it’s not always the same level as when you see it, it can give you an indication of what you’re dealing with,” he added.
While the device can help identify a potentially dangerous condition, it is not perfect.
“We can’t say that it’s 100 per cent accurate or that it will predict everything, but it can provide a little bit more of everything than a standard monitor would,” Dr Buehers said.
Read more:The BPV sensors are available at all of the major pharmacy chains, including Walgreens, Rite Aid and Target.
“They’re very inexpensive, but we do believe that they’re an important step in the direction of better information about blood pressure, so we’re hopeful that this will continue to expand and grow,” Dr Bibb said.