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Blood Pressure Measurements
Blood pressure tests are another way to detect a scleroderma renal crisis.
Regular blood pressure checks are important for all scleroderma patients, but especially recommended for people with antibodies to RNA Polymerase III or Scl-70, or those being treated with high doses of corticosteroid drugs.
What is it?
Blood pressure tests estimate how hard blood is being pushed against the sides of arteries as it's being pumped around your body.
How is it performed?
In a standard blood pressure test, a cuff is placed around your upper arm and inflated to restrict blood flow. The cuff is then slowly released, and the pressure recorded as the blood flow returns to your arm.
What do the results mean?
Blood pressure is measured in two ways: systolic (first reading, the pressure when the blood is pushed out of your heart) and diastolic (second reading, the pressure when your heart is resting).
'Normal' blood pressure is between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg. If it is above 140/90 mmHg your doctor may wish to consider extra tests, such as those described in the kidney function tests section to determine the cause of your high blood pressure.
It's possible to measure blood pressure at home, which you may wish to consider if you have a higher risk variant of scleroderma. Your doctor will explain if you are in this group.