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Undiagnosed high blood pressure can have long-term impact

Medical research today places a lot of focus on heart disease, namely how to prevent heart disease. Many studies show that the answer isn't in drug or supplements and this news can be disappointing for doctors and patients alike. But New Yorkers should take heed of a study that shows how a doctor's failure to diagnose may be part of the problem.

The study at issued should that many physicians overlook important opportunities to diagnose heart problems before they become fatal. Out of 14,000 medical records, many doctors failed to diagnose instances of high blood pressure. These diagnoses were missed even when the patient's pressure readings were recorded in the charts.

The failure to diagnose high blood pressure increased with younger, college-age adults. Patients who smoke or second-language English speakers also received lower instances of diagnosis.

Even though doctors seemed to pay more attention to high blood pressure readings in patients over 60, doctors still missed diagnosing over half of the patients in this age rage who had high blood pressure.

The importance of this diagnosis lies in the fact that it can be used as a tool to start living a healthy life. Patients who are diagnosed soon enough can make changes in diet and exercise and medication and may be able to stave off heart disease.

Doctor's should not fall under the assumption that high blood pressure in young adults is not a big deal. These findings can prove critical if left untreated or addressed and may have a long-term impact. Patients who suffer heart disease or other injuries because of a doctor's failure to diagnose may be able to recover damages for doctor error. Doctors must abide by a certain standard of care and this includes ensuring that patients are adequately informed.

Source: USA Today, "Prevention research shows obstacles to heart health," Lix Szabo, Nov. 6, 2012

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