The best! Home blood pressure monitor - guided treatment
The results of a study has shown that self management of blood pressure, works best when home blood pressure monitor results are used to guide treatment. When people are involved in managing their own blood pressure and are given professional support over the internet, the results can be remarkable.
This is what the introduction to the study report in the lancet says:
Control of blood pressure is a key component of cardiovascular disease prevention, but is difficult to achieve and until recently has been the sole preserve of health professionals. This study assessed whether self-management by people with poorly controlled hypertension resulted in better blood pressure control compared with usual care.
Over 500 people between the ages of 35 and 85 and who had a blood pressure over 140/90 despite being on treatment were enrolled in this research study carried out in the UK. They were divided into two evenly matched groups. One group carried on as normal, the other group managed their own BP by measuring it regularly and adjusting their treatment accordingly with advice, when needed, via the internet which they also used to send results to the doctors.
The systolic blood pressure was measured at 6 months and at 12 months. The self-management group performed the best - home blood pressure monitor -guided treatment achieved nearly 13mmHg drop in BP at the 6 month stage and by nearly 18mmHg at the 12 month stage. The other group achieved just over 9mmHg at 6 months and just over 12mmHg at one year.
The study authors conclude that, Self-management of hypertension in combination with telemonitoring of blood pressure measurements represents an important new addition to control of hypertension in primary care.
I have to admit it is satisfying when a journal as prestigious as the Lancet publishes a study that sums up the entire point of this site - which, I will repeat, is to get you to take more responsibility for managing your own blood pressure. You will notice from the results above that even the group who followed their 'usual care' had a pretty impressive drop in blood pressure. Why? They carried on as usual and coincidentally their blood pressure dropped? Of course not.
Imagine your doctor asked you to take part in a trial, and after they finished drawing straws you were in the unlucky group who were told to go home, carry on 'as usual' and come back in 6 months. Well, now you know that in 6 months you will be seeing the doctor and having your numbers checked for a very important piece of research. You know you are being watched! So of course you do not behave quite as you normally would - sometimes forgetting to take your tablets, not checking your BP every so often and having more alcohol than you should. You might even be motivated to do more exercise - I'm continuing 'as usual' you say to yourself, forgetting that it was once in 2 weeks you took your turn walking the dog, not once every 2 days.
In the two groups then, the key factor was the self-management. Though the self management group did best with a home blood pressure monitor guiding them, both groups were inevitably motivated to pay more attention to managing their health and to take more responsibility.
The message is, therefore, that if you get involved in the management of your blood pressure and sustain the changes you make you will bring your blood pressure down.
Your can access the summary of the trial at the Lancet site here.
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