Patients often have elevated blood pressure just from being nervous when it’s being measured in the office. Guidelines for checking blood pressure recommend that after multiple readings in the office, worrisome findings should be confirmed by 24-hour measurement outside the office. This happens far too rarely. Instead, people get their blood pressure measured quickly in the office, are labeled hypertensive, and are then put on treatment pathways. More people will probably be prescribed drugs because they’ve been told to be afraid and because they can’t get their blood pressure low enough with diet and exercise.

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