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Home monitoring helps to control blood pressure
New evidence supporting home blood pressure monitoring could make it a key part of blood pressure management
A new study published in The Lancet this year has found that measuring blood pressure at home leads to better blood pressure control.
A team of researchers sponsored by Oxford University set out to find whether home monitoring can lead to better control of blood pressure compared with blood pressure measurements in clinic only.
What did the study involve?
Over 1182 patients with high blood pressure from 142 GP practices around UK took part in the trial. They were split into three groups: one group measured their blood pressure at home and posted their recordings to their GP; the second group also measured their blood pressure at home but text the results and were alerted when their readings were high and they should visit their GP; the final group received the usual care as prescribed by their GP.
GPs were able to use the home monitoring results to adjust the dose of blood pressure medications. One year later, people who monitored their blood pressure at home, with or without the text service, had their blood pressure lowered around 4mmHg more on average than those who had the usual treatment.
What does this study add?
Although it was already known that home blood pressure monitoring can help improve blood pressure control when used with other treatments, the evidence wasn’t completely clear and there is variation in practice between GPs. This is a high-quality study which provides evidence to health professionals that home monitoring helps bring blood pressure down.
The authors concluded that: “With most general practitioners and many patients using self-monitoring, it could become the cornerstone of hypertension management in primary care.”
Nirmala Markandu, Trustee of Blood Pressure UK and Hypertension Nurse Specialist, says: “Monitoring your blood pressure at home can give a better idea of what your blood pressure is really like than readings in a clinic, as you take so many more readings and in an environment where you feel comfortable. It can also help you to feel more in control and see how well your treatments are working.
“This study shows that when the results are used by your GP to find the right dose of medication, it could help to bring your blood pressure under control as well. The study was not large enough to prove this for certain, but shows that home monitoring as part of treatment has the potential to prevent heart disease and strokes. The results warrant more research to show how well this method works and the lives and costs it could save.”