Hypertension in a Dental School Patient Population
Kellogg, Sara D.
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A retrospective study of patient records was examined to investigate the incidence of hypertensive patients seen at a U.S. dental school. This research was conducted in hopes of creating a national awareness of the current problems in diagnosing and treating hypertensive patients in the dental community so that appropriate changes can be made. Nine-hundred and seventy-six records of patients who were seen between January 1, 1999 and January 1, 2000 were reviewed. Five-hundred records that met specific criteria; health history, medications used, recorded blood pressure, etc. were selected for the study. Factors examined include the following: demographic data, history of hypertension, JNC blood pressure classification, control of hypertension, medication used, tobacco/alcohol use, etc. The data demonstrated that 32% of the patients seen were hypertensive, 48.1% of whom were unaware of their high blood pressure prior to their visit to their dental providers. Eight point eight percent of the hypertensive patients bad sue~ elevated blood pressures that they had to be sent for medical consent before they were able to be treated. Fifty-three percent of the hypertensive patients were female. The average blood pressure of the hypertensive patients was found to be, systolic 145.6, diastolic 87.9, JNC stage II classification. Fifty-eight percent of hypertensive patients used tobacco products regularly and 36.9% used alcohol weekly. Of the diagnosed patients, 41.9% were taking anti-hypertension medication for their condition, 13% were taking two or more. Hypertension is a serious problem affecting nearly one third of the dental school population. It is crucial that dental providers take blood pressure readings for screening, monitoring of hypertensive patients, and appropriate dental care.