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Health Watch: Hypertension Misdiagnosis

SLUCare nephrologist, Dr. Paul Schmitz says up to a third of patients in the St. Louis area are misdiagnosed with high blood pressure.  Dr. Schmitz runs one of the only dedicated hypertension clinics in Missouri and finds many patients can avoid taking the wrong medications connected to white coat syndrome.

"Very simply put, it's office blood pressures that are above the normal range and home blood pressures that are within the normal range."  Schmitz says 20 - 30% of St. Louis patients have the disorder.

He asks his patients to take their blood pressure at home with a small device that records more measurements than in a doctor's office.  "They basically are supposed to wear it for 24 hours, and they bring it back. We dump it into our computer and we analyze the data. In essence, we are getting 50 or 60 samples of blood pressure versus the one or two or three at the most  in the office."

This helps Schmitz decide the right medications to prescribe if any medication is needed at all.

To learn more about the SLUCare Hypertension Clinic, click here.