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Monitoring Blood Pressure at Home May Help Keep It Low
Date:7/8/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- With proper training, people with high blood pressure may be able to control it more effectively on their own at home than through conventional methods, British researchers contend.

Through telemonitoring of their blood pressure and adjusting their medications according to guidelines agreed upon in advance, patients assigned to self-managed care saw greater reductions in blood pressure after six and 12 months than patients receiving standard care through health professionals, the study found.

"Self-management represents an important new intervention for people with hypertension treated in primary care," said lead researcher Dr. Richard J. McManus, a professor of primary care cardiovascular research and honorary consultant at the University of Birmingham in England.

Self-management should be considered for people with hypertension, particularly if their blood pressure is not controlled with standard care, McManus added.

But the self-managed approach is not without drawbacks, McManus noted.

"Caveats are that not everyone will want to do self-management and that family doctors need to be involved in setting up the titration schedules for individuals to follow," he said.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack, heart failure, stroke and renal (kidney) failure, but only half the people treated for it have their blood pressure controlled, according to background information in the study.

For the study, published in the July 8 online edition of The Lancet, McManus's team randomly assigned 527 patients with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, to either self-managed care or to standard care.

Taking daily blood pressure readings over six months, patients managing their own care saw a drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number in a 120/80 reading) of 12.9 mm Hg, while pa
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