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Home Blood-Pressure Monitoring Recommended
Date:5/22/2008

It makes better control possible, heart experts say

THURSDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- More than 100 million Americans should be monitoring their blood pressure at home, according to three major health organizations that are issuing recommendations on what to do and how to do it.

"We have an estimated 72 million [people] with hypertension [high blood pressure] and another 25 million with pre-hypertension," said Dr. Suzanne Oparil, professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Hypertension is a pressure reading greater than 140 over 90. Pre-hypertension is a reading higher than 120/80, the desired level, but just below 140/90.

Oparil is immediate past president of the American Society of Hypertension, one of the organizations issuing the recommendations. Home monitoring should be done, because "hypertension is the most modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular and renal [kidney] disease," she said.

Added Dr. David Goff, chair of epidemiology and prevention at Wake Forest University, and one of the American Heart Association members who helped write the recommendations: "The evidence is quite strong that home blood pressure monitoring leads to better control of blood pressure, and the evidence is quite strong that blood pressure control lowers the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and sudden death."

Nancy Houston Miller, another guidelines co-author and a past president of the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, said in a prepared statement, "Home blood pressure monitoring also gives patients the physiologic feedback they need to see regarding blood pressure."

The guidelines are published online in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, and The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, and printed in the June issue of Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing.


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