CardioSmart Corner | Right Readings, Right Treatment

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The release of the new ACC/American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Guideline provides a valuable opportunity to focus on the importance of correct blood pressure readings — both in the practice setting or at home.

For patients, it’s important to let them know that blood pressure readings at home may be lower than those taken at the office. Encourage them to select a device that has been validated and suggest they bring the monitor to their next visit to compare results. Additionally, before taking a reading, make sure they know to rest for five minutes, and not to smoke, drink caffeinated beverages or exercise for 30 minutes prior.

Whether in the office or at home, blood pressure readings should be done with the patient sitting up straight in a firm chair, with their back supported. Feet should be placed flat on the floor with the arm resting comfortably at heart level on a table. The blood pressure cuff should be above the bend in the elbow. The new guideline recommends two readings, one minute apart.

For patients taking their blood pressure at home, readings should be taken in the morning before taking blood pressure medication (if any) and in the evening before dinner. CardioSmart offers a Blood Pressure Tracker to help with recordings, but a journal or mobile app can also suffice.

Helping patients understand and manage high blood pressure is among one of the easiest ways we can help manage and prevent heart disease. It starts with correct readings, but also goes beyond the cuff and involves lifestyle changes like moving more, eating better, managing weight, quitting smoking and limiting salt and alcohol.

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Encourage Your Patients to Enter ACC’s “I am CardioSmart” Contest

ACC’s CardioSmart team is in search of four inspiring individuals who are living well with heart disease. Do you have inspiring patients who have survived a heart attack or stroke, or who are living with heart failure, atrial fibrillation or a congenital heart defect? Encourage them to take part in ACC’s “I am CardioSmart” contest for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card and be profiled in Cardiology magazine. Stories (no longer than 500 words) must be submitted no later than Nov. 30 to For more details and contest rules, go to

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Clinical Topics: Prevention, Hypertension, Smoking

Keywords: ACC Publications, Cardiology Magazine, Blood Pressure, Smoke, American Heart Association, Smoking, Mobile Applications, Blood Pressure Determination, Hypertension, Sodium Chloride, Dietary, Rest, Heart Diseases, Life Style, Beverages

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