The way healthcare providers measure blood pressure could be changing

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NorthPoint senior community health worker LaTrisha Vetaw, left, checks Ineze Ellis' blood pressure Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, at St. Anne's Senior Community in north Minneapolis.
MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson

An article out Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests the way many people have their blood pressure checked — sitting in a clinic with a cuff slowly tightening around their arms — isn’t the best approach. It says that continuous, ambulatory monitoring is more accurate.

“If you think about it, when you come to a medical setting, a clinic, and you have your blood pressure checked — you’re running behind, you’ve had a cup of coffee, you’re super stressed, you don’t like being there — how accurate is that reading going to be?” said Dr. John Hallberg, medical director of the University of Minnesota Physicians Mill City Clinic.

With ambulatory testing, patients wear a cuff throughout their daily routine that measures blood pressure four times an hour. That allows doctors to make decisions based on an average.

To hear more of Hallberg’s conversation with MPR News host Tom Crann, hit play on the audio player above.