Author Topic: Dentists and Blood Pressure  (Read 295 times)

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Offline Friendly Angel

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Dentists and Blood Pressure
« on: June 10, 2019, 02:35:48 PM »
Had some dental work done last week.  Before starting, the assistant took my blood pressure with a wrist cuff, and the readout was a little higher than I know it really is.  I asked the DDS why she needed to know blood pressure anyway, and she said it is mostly a general health service they provide (but only for big work, not for cleanings and X-rays).  Then she said some of her patients never see a regular doctor and don't have any idea what their blood pressure is.  Two or three times she has cancelled the dental work for high blood pressure because she was concerned they would have a stroke in the chair while she was working on them.  That made some sense.  Apparently this is one of those horror stories that dentists talk about at conventions and such, although it's pretty rare.
 Hard to believe someone could be that far above normal and not know about it.

Then I thought, one of the signs of stroke is numbness and facial droop, and you just pumped half of my head full of Novocaine... I think an emergency responder would look at me right now and start treatment.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Dentists and Blood Pressure
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2019, 02:55:17 PM »
... Hard to believe someone could be that far above normal and not know about it.

When I began jogging at the age of 35, my blood pressure came down from borderline to excellent. A few years ago, while I was recovering from my broken arm, my blood pressure started to rise, but the first indication I had that it was dangerously high was when I had a TIA. (Transient ischemic attack.) After that I began to notice symptoms when it was high. Eventually I was able to resume regular cardio, and they got me on blood pressure medicines, and now my BP is pretty good.

But yes, high blood pressure is known as a "silent" killer because you might have no symptoms at all.

My only quibble would be with using a wrist cuff instead of an arm cuff. And those automatic ones can be extremely inaccurate, especially for old folks and people with arterial disease, which are the groups most at risk. Best to use the kind where someone actually listens for the thumping while watching a pressure indicator.
Daniel
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Online CarbShark

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Re: Dentists and Blood Pressure
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2019, 04:33:59 PM »
the readout was a little higher than I know it really is. 

How do you know that?

Blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day and rises when under stress (like about to see a Dentist). I could see if it was significantly higher than you expected, but if it's just a little, how do you know?
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Online The Latinist

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Re: Dentists and Blood Pressure
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2019, 04:41:32 PM »
Before starting, the assistant took my blood pressure with a wrist cuff, and the readout was a little higher than I know it really is.

You realize that blood pressure is highly variable, right (it can swing tens of points in just a few minutes), and that it tends to be higher when one is under stress.  What a person’s blood pressure ‘really is’ is a nonsensical notion.
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Offline Calinthalus

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Re: Dentists and Blood Pressure
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 11:44:48 AM »
My wife does not let me use one of those wrist cuffs.  We have one at the house, but she doesn't want me using it when I'm tracking my blood pressure.  She says it's not as accurate as the more unwieldy bicep cuff that's harder to use.  She uses the wrist cuff when someone is feeling odd to get a ballpark, and if it looks troubling she will pull out the larger one (and then bitch that she doesn't have a manual cuff at the house).


It's what she's trained for, so I just take her at her word about accuracy.  I don't know if it tends to miss high or low.
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Re: Dentists and Blood Pressure
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2019, 12:42:18 PM »
My wife does not let me use one of those wrist cuffs.  We have one at the house, but she doesn't want me using it when I'm tracking my blood pressure.  She says it's not as accurate as the more unwieldy bicep cuff that's harder to use.  She uses the wrist cuff when someone is feeling odd to get a ballpark, and if it looks troubling she will pull out the larger one (and then bitch that she doesn't have a manual cuff at the house).


It's what she's trained for, so I just take her at her word about accuracy.  I don't know if it tends to miss high or low.

I brought my wrist cuff to the doctor's office and took my blood pressure before and after they did, and got virtually identical results. The nurse said they did the same thing with several brands before they bought the one they use. (It stays on your wrist and takes reading every five minutes.)

Consumer Reports did testing and found some to be very accurate and others not so much.
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Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: Dentists and Blood Pressure
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2019, 12:55:44 PM »
I've had systolic readings over 230, and as low 55. Had ten TIAs. Not stoked out yet.
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Offline Swagomatic

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Re: Dentists and Blood Pressure
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2019, 02:45:53 PM »
Personally, I'm glad that dentists have started taking blood pressure.  My wife found out about her hypertension at the dentist's office.  It's much better that finding out with a stroke or heart attack.  It's true that these wrist devices are not super accurate, but they don't have to be. 

ETA:  When I found out about my hypertension, I was in excellent shape.  My resting pulse was very low, so I thought there was no way I had hypertension. Then, I went to the ER because I developed a case of shingles that was coming close to my eye.  I ended up sitting in the treatment room for about 2 hours waiting for my BP to normalize.  It was quite the wake up call.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 02:50:44 PM by Swagomatic »
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Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: Dentists and Blood Pressure
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2019, 08:10:10 PM »
These days I can add forty points by walking across the room.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Dentists and Blood Pressure
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2019, 10:55:57 PM »
I brought my wrist cuff to the doctor's office and took my blood pressure before and after they did, and got virtually identical results. The nurse said they did the same thing with several brands before they bought the one they use. (It stays on your wrist and takes reading every five minutes.)

I did the same thing with an automatic BP monitor that goes on the upper arm like the real ones do. The nurse took my BP and I did it with the machine. We went back and forth a couple of times. She and the machine got very different numbers.

I got a manual sphygmomanometer and learned to use it. Then I went back to the clinic and did the same test, comparing my reading to the nurse's. We got the same readings as near as makes no difference.

What I read somewhere is that for some individuals the machines work pretty well. For others, not. Because the machine is not actually sensing the cut-off of blood flow as pressure is applied or released. The machine is measuring the fluctuations in the pressure inside the cuff as the pressure is slowly lowered. Basically those dips in the meter you see when your BP is taken. Then it uses a proprietary algorithm to calculate your systolic and diastolic pressures. This can be fairly accurate or extremely inaccurate depending on various factors including the condition of your arteries.

Essentially, the more likely you are to be at risk, the less likely the machines are to give an accurate reading.

Once you learn to use a sphygmomanometer, it is not hard at all. The trick is to get a cuff that's designed to use on yourself, where one hand is useless. This cuff has a D ring allowing it to fold back on itself and you can apply it one-handed.
Daniel
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Dentists and Blood Pressure
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2019, 10:57:42 PM »
I was at the dentist today. He prepared my tooth for a crown, and then put a temporary crown on. Nobody there took my blood pressure. But I take it once every few days. It's under control these days.
Daniel
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