IMAT 2012 Q39 [Arguments | Hypertension]

Health services should find better ways to take blood pressure readings for patients thought to be suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension). One third of patients thought to have high blood pressure may actually have ‘white coat’ hypertension, according to a new study. ‘White coat’ hypertension means that a patient’s blood pressure is high at the doctor’s surgery, probably due to anxiety, but normal in everyday life. In the study, patients said to have hypertension had their blood pressure measured in a normal environment; more than one third of these patients’ blood pressures were in the normal range when they were at home or participating in their usual activities. It is worrying that patients are being treated with drugs with some negative side effects to reduce high blood pressure which they do not actually have.

Which one of the following best expresses the conclusion of the argument above?

A. Two thirds of patients said to have hypertension are being wrongly treated.

B. More effective ways of measuring blood pressure are needed.

C. Health services could save money currently spent on unnecessarily prescribed drugs.

D. Anxiety is the most common cause of high blood pressure.

E. ‘White coat’ hypertension has no medical significance.

Key Steps

  1. Read the question (do this for every question!)
  2. Read the passage
  3. In your own words, make a conclusion for the passage. What is the author’s main idea?
  4. Find a sentence in the text that matches the conclusion you made, and underline it.
  • Keep an eye out for giveaway words and phrases
  1. Find an answer that matches the underlined sentence.

Once you have read the passage, you can work on identifying the main ideas. In this passage, the author has made it very clear from the beginning that their opinion is that “Health services should find better ways to take blood pressure readings for patients thought to be suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension).”. An example from a study has been used as evidence to support this opinion. The example illustrates that patients who had “White Coat Hypertension” were wrongly diagnosed with having Hypertension. This was proven by showing that some patients who were previously diagnosed with hypertension, had a normal blood pressure in a “normal environment”.

Let’s work through each option to find the correct one:

A. Two thirds of patients said to have hypertension are being wrongly treated:
The passage states that “ One third of patients thought to have high blood pressure may actually have ‘white coat’ hypertension”. Firstly, it is important to note that the statistic in the answer ( Two thirds) , does not match the statistic given in the passage (One third). Secondly, the example uses the word “may”. This indicates that it is not definite that one third of hypertensive patients have white coat hypertension and are as a result being treated incorrectly. Therefore a definite conclusion cannot be drawn from the statement. A is incorrect.

B. More effective ways of measuring blood pressure are needed:
The author clearly states in the first line that “Health services should find better ways to take blood pressure readings for patients thought to be suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension).”. When looking at option B, it is saying the same thing but is worded differently. B is correct.

C. Health services could save money currently spent on unnecessarily prescribed drugs:
When looking at this statement you notice that the focus is placed on the benefit of Health Services, which directly contrasts the opinion of the author. The author is focused on improving the measuring of blood pressure to benefit the patient. Also, the passage makes no mention of financial gain for either patient or Health Services. C is incorrect.

D. Anxiety is the most common cause of high blood pressure:
This statement is about the causes of hypertension which does not correlate with the passage. The passage does not speak about any of the causes of hypertension. D is incorrect

E. White coat’ hypertension has no medical significance:
This statement directly contradicts the example used in the passage as White Coat Hypertension is seen as the possible alternative medical diagnosis to Hypertension in one third of the patients. E is incorrect.