Reason No. 1 – Dental visits provide the perfect opportunity to screen for hypertension
People who are not being treated by their primary care physician for a systemic disease typically view themselves as being “healthy” and don’t always see their physicians regularly. However, they are seen two to four times per year for routine preventive care at their dental office! This puts us in a unique position to assess blood pressure and increase awareness about risks associated with untreated hypertension.
Reason No. 2 – Detecting hypertension in early stages can limit damage to the body
High blood pressure is classically called the “silent killer” because the condition will often lack warning signs. Most people do not feel like they have high blood pressure until it is significantly high and at dangerous levels. When it is finally detected, consistent elevated blood pressure may have already caused serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and more.
Reason No. 3 – Screening can help avert a hypertensive crisis
Hypertensive emergencies generally occur at blood pressure levels exceeding 180 systolic OR 110 diastolic, but organ damage can occur at even lower levels in patients whose blood pressure had not been previously high.
The consequences of uncontrolled blood pressure in this range can be severe and include:
Loss of consciousness
Damage to the eyes and kidneys
Loss of kidney function
Angina (unstable chest pain)
Pulmonary edema (fluid backup in the lungs)