Consider giving the gift of your time to spark that loved one to take his or her health seriously. It can be as simple as giving a gift certificate promising at least 30 minutes of your time weekly to go for a walk or a gym class. This may be one way to save on the credit card statements but still give someone a heartfelt gift of health.
Studies show, and my patients confirm to me, that most doctors don't do this, yielding BP readings that are misleadingly higher. If your SBP is over-read this way, you are at greater risk of over-treatment and harm than were the study patients. The risk of harm may be higher in the real world than in the study.
When I was pregnant with my first child 17 years ago, I had the usual worries compounded by my knowledge as an obstetrician and high-risk pregnancy specialist. I knew first-hand the impact of prematurity and other complications. Like other moms-to-be, I hoped to deliver a healthy baby. As a research physician, I was eager for evidence-based knowledge to make this a reality.