Task Force Recommends Adult Blood Pressure Screening

Published Online: Wednesday, October 1, 2003

    The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has produced new guidelines for blood pressure screening. The task force recommends that all adults be screened by their physicians for high blood pressure. Screenings of children and adolescents, however, are not recommended. The suggestions are based on a review of available evidence from researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (August 2003).

    ?Recent findings suggest that 31% of American adults do not know that they have high blood pressure,? according to a statement by the USPSTF. The latest research, which represents an update of a 1996 report, indicates that lowering blood pressure can ward off heart disease. Also, research has found no adverse effects from screening for high blood pressure.The USPSTF did not, however, comment on how often adults should be screened or what medications offer the best protection against heart disease. Furthermore, a number of therapies ?including weight loss and decreased alcohol intake? can lower blood pressure, but it is unknown whether these therapies can prevent heart attacks.

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