Hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure, is the most common primary diagnosis in the United States. It is a major cause of cardiovascular (“cardio” – heart; “vascular” – blood vessel) disease (CVD), an increasingly prevalent public health concern. A staggering 80 million people are recognized as having some type of CVD. Even more noteworthy, a significant proportion of people are unaware of their disease. What’s more, studies have confirmed that people don’t always see their doctors as regularly as they see their dentists. And when they do go to the dentist, they usually believe they are medically healthy. One study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association looked at dental patients who had no reported cardiovascular risk factors and who had not seen a doctor in the previous 12 months. When their blood pressure was taken along with other screening tests while visiting a dental office, it turned out that 17% were at an increased risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event in the next 10 years and didn’t know it. Additionally the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has reaffirmed that asymptomatic adult patients with sustained high blood pressure, greater than 135/80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) should be tested for diabetes, even in the absence of symptoms. The recommendations emphasize the importance of early recognition of high blood pressure, which, like type II diabetes, is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it commonly occurs without symptoms and remains undiagnosed during its earliest stages.
So as you come to see us for your dental needs we will be checking your blood pressure at every visit.