University of Michigan dentistry student Sara Kellogg believes dentists could save lives simply by taking a few minutes to measure the blood pressure of every patient.
This isn’t just the opinion of one dentist-to-be. Kellogg has data to back it up. In an article in the Sept. 10 issue of the Journal of Dental Education, Kellogg reports that after reviewing the records of patients treated at U-M School of Dentistry clinics in 1999, she found about one third had high blood pressure. More significantly, nearly half of those had never been diagnosed as hypertensive.
High blood pressure is called the silent killer because although it contributes to such potential killers as stroke and heart attack, those who suffer from it often have no signs or symptoms. “As dentists, we have the opportunity to screen for this medical condition,” said Kellogg’s faculty advisor, Jack Gobetti, U-M professor of dentistry. “Blood pressure screening is going to be part of the modern dental office protocol. “It is a tremendous public service to do this as a public health screening,” Gobetti said.
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