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Monitoring Blood Pressure

A recent study shows that measuring ones blood pressure at home may lead to fewer blood pressure medications and slightly lower costs.// Researchers compared self-measurement at patients’ homes to conventional doctors’ office measurements of blood pressure for patients with high blood pressure. 400 patients with a diastolic blood pressure reading of 95 millimeters of mercury or more as measured at physicians’ offices were included for the study. All of the patients in the study received high blood pressure drugs. One group monitored their blood pressure several times a day at home and averaged the daily blood pressure over one week. The other group’s measurements were averaged from three visits to a physician’s office. The patients were followed for a year.

Researchers found 25 percent of home blood pressure patients had stopped the high blood pressure drug treatment compared to 11 percent of the office blood pressure patients by the end of the study. The study’s authors also found that the mode of measurement did not lead to any significant difference in the proportions of patients progressing to multiple-drug treatment. However, they found that the final office, home, and 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure measurements were higher in the home blood pressure group than in the office blood pressure group.

Researchers conclude saying self-measurement helps to identify patients with “white-coat hypertension” -- abnormal elevation of blood pressure in the physician’s office therby recommending self-measurement as a complement to conventional office measureent.

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