Hypertension is currently the most common chronic condition handled in internal medicine. It affects approximately a billion people worldwide. The condition has been proven to lead to end-organ damage and a heightened risk of mortality and morbidity when left unmonitored. The basic machine used for monitoring your blood pressure is the sphygmomanometer. This comprises a cuff around your arm, that is inflated, and the achieved pressure measured by a gauge.
There are nonetheless other tests the specialists at a London medical diagnostic clinic might recommend for monitoring your pressure. The most common of these are imaging studies. These are primarily used to detect secondary types of hypertension and end-organ damage. The following are tidbits on the imaging studies that might be used when monitoring your blood pressure.
This is generally recommended as part of the diagnostic evaluation of a newly-diagnosed hypertension patient. The findings might convey information on the causative element of hypertension and identify organ damage. The adrenal glands and kidneys are the interest areas for the imaging specialist in an abdominal ultrasound for hypertensive patients. Most imaging centres will conduct the ultrasound with patients in a dorsolateral position. This allows evasion of your intestinal loops and guarantees a non-overlapping image.
Hypertension is the chief risk factor for heart failure across all age groups. Some of the mechanisms attributed to this risk are left ventricular hypertrophy, chamber remodelling, and coronary microvascular disease. Echocardiography is a sensitive imaging procedure used for the assessment of your heart’s condition when battling hypertension. The procedure is also used to monitor the success of treatment and periodically assess a patient’s overall heart failure risk.
Renal Arteries’ Doppler Ultrasound
About 2% of patients with elevated blood pressure readings have renovascular hypertension. This is often caused by stenosis of your extrarenal arteries. The stenosis in elderly patients is usually attributed to atherosclerosis. In most young adults the stenosis is caused by fibromuscular dysplasia. A Doppler ultrasound of your renal arteries allows the analysis of your renal perfusion. It has a specificity and sensitivity of about 90% in diagnosing renal artery stenosis.
This is an ultrasound-based technique of measuring your brachial artery diameter before and after increasing its shear stress. The procedure is used to diagnose your endothelial function. This is because endothelial dysfunction is considered the first step in the development of atherosclerosis. Detecting it using flow-mediated dilation allows a specialist to take the steps needed to avert vascular end-organ damage.
Blood pressure monitoring takes more than the cuff and pressure gauge used in most outpatient centres and home-based care settings. The above imaging procedures will make a significant difference in the optimal control of your blood pressure. Thankfully, they are not as expensive as you might assume. Moreover, most centres have hefty discounts for patients who sign up for long-term blood pressure monitoring with them. Either way, you should ensure you get a centre with the latest machines for the above tests and specialists who can accurately interpret the results.