Program tied to system-wide blood pressure benefits
“High blood pressure is dangerous in part because many people don’t know they have it,” study author Dr. Bernard Rosner, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass., said in a statement . “It’s a very sneaky thing.” High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a problem in which blood pushes too hard against a person’s blood vessels, potentially causing damage to the vessels and organs like the heart, according to WebMD . Risk factors for hypertension in children include obesity, sodium intake and family history. U.S. dietary guidelines suggest people eat no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, while the AHA recommends an even lower threshold of 1,500 daily milligrams. The AHA estimates 97 percent of children and teens eat too much salt, putting them at risk for high blood pressure and eventual heart disease.
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Home blood pressure monitoring may improve control
So researchers have been looking for new and inexpensive ways to encourage people with hypertension to stick to their medication regimen. The new study “shows that you don’t have to come into the office to have your blood pressure managed,” said Dr. Katrin Uhlig from Tufts Medical Center in Boston, who has studied home blood pressure monitoring. “I don’t think it’s the fix for everything, but it certainly is very promising,” Uhlig, who was not involved in the new research, told Reuters Health. In another recent study, people who were able to communicate with their pharmacists online ended up with better blood pressure control a year later (see Reuters Health story of May 22, 2013 here:). For their report, Dr.
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Sometimes three months or more go by from changing medication to follow-up,” Egan, who wasn’t involved in the new study, told Reuters Health. What’s more, he added, “There’s pretty good evidence that engaging a broader healthcare team is one of the more effective strategies for (achieving) blood pressure control.” Jaffe said it’s hard to estimate just how much the program cost to implement, and a cost-benefit analysis was not one of the goals of the study. But he thinks the impact of improved blood pressure control has been widespread. “During that same period of time in our organization, we observed a reduction in heart attacks by 24 percent and fatal strokes dropping by 42 percent,” Jaffe said. “I believe that they’re related.” Egan said he encourages patients to monitor their own blood pressure at home and report back to him.
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