PURPOSE: Recent research suggests that one in five Americans has hypertension, according to the American Heart Association. When hypertension is undiagnosed or uncontrolled, it places patients at risk for other cardiovascular diseases, contributing to an increase in mortality. Dental hygienists are in an ideal setting to screen for this silent disease. This study was designed to determine how frequently a group of practicing dental hygienists performs screenings for hypertension on their patients, and to determine the barriers that prevent this screening from occurring. METHODS: One hundred one dental hygienists were questioned with a written survey about their blood pressure screening practices and their reasons for not taking blood pressure readings, if applicable. RESULTS: Sixty-seven dental hygienists completed the survey. Survey results revealed that the majority of dental hygienists were not recording blood pressure readings, even though their dental hygiene school curriculum had emphasized doing so for all patients. The most frequently cited reasons for not performing a routine blood pressure screening were insufficient time in the appointment and the minimal value given to the procedure by their employers. CONCLUSION: To work against obstacles that prevent the provision of this service, dental and dental hygiene faculty must increase their efforts to inculcate in their students the value of blood pressure screening. Further studies are needed to determine if the findings of this study are indicative of only one segment of dental hygiene practitioners, or if they represent the norm in the profession.
|Number of pages
|Journal of dental hygiene : JDH / American Dental Hygienists' Association
|Published - Jan 1 2004