USPSTF recommends blood pressure screening for all adults

All adults should be screened for high blood pressure, according to a U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation released on Oct. 13. If adults are diagnosed with hypertension, they should confirm the measurement outside of a clinical setting with ambulatory blood pressure monitoring before starting treatment

For people who are least 40 and at an increased risk for high blood pressure should be screened annually, while adults between 18 and 39 years old with normal blood pressure (less than 130/85 mm Hg) who do not have other risk factors should be screened every three to five years.

The recommendation, which applied to people without known hypertension, was also published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Approximately 30 percent of adults have high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart failure, MI, stroke and chronic kidney disease and is the most commonly diagnosed condition at outpatient office visits.

The USPSTF mentioned that people at risk for high blood pressure include those who have a reading of 130/85 mm Hg to 139/89 mm Hg, those who are overweight or obese and African Americans.  When measuring blood pressure, the researchers recommended using a manual or automated sphygmomanometer to take the mean of two measurements while the person is seated, allowing for at least five minutes between entering the office and taking the measurements, using an appropriately sized arm cuff and placing the person’s arm at the level of the right atrium.

The researchers mentioned that nonblack patients should initially receive a thiazide diuretic, calcium-channel blocker, ARB or ACE inhibitor. Black patients should receive a thiazide or calcium-channel blocker. Patients with chronic kidney disease should receive an ARB or an ACE inhibitor.

The USPSTF noted that it is independent of the U.S. government, so its recommendations are not official positions of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.