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Going Online to Draw the Line on High Blood Pressure
Date:6/24/2008

Conferring with pharmacists permits quicker changes in drugs, improved management, study finds,,,,

TUESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Monitoring your blood pressure at home and reporting those results to a pharmacist via the Web helps keep blood pressure readings lower than standard care does, a new study found.

In fact, more than half of people who used this system of blood pressure management were able to achieve normal blood pressure readings, compared to just 31 percent of people on standard blood pressure management, according to the study.

"Hypertension is a common condition; about one in three people have it, but less than half are controlling it," said the study's lead author, Dr. Beverly Green, a family physician and investigator for the Group Health Center for Health Studies, in Seattle. "We saw a modest improvement in systolic pressure for the home monitoring plus Web training group, but the third group -- [those who were home monitoring and reporting the results to a pharmacist who could adjust medications] -- had almost two times the control as usual care."

Results of the study are published in the June 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Because only about one-third of people with high blood pressure [hypertension] are controlling it, and because studies have shown that keeping your blood pressure in the normal range can decrease the risk of death, the Group Health researchers wanted to design a system that could improve the care of people with hypertension, Green said.

Having patients monitor their blood pressure at home is useful, but physicians don't always have the time to review these numbers unless a patient comes in for a visit, which isn't always easy for the patient. To work around this, the study authors designed a Web-based training system to teach people how to manage their high blood pressure, and they showed them how to use home b
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