Only around half of those who have hypertension or conditions linked to blood pressure regularly monitor, but health care providers’ recommendations increase older adults’ monitoring at home — ScienceDaily

Only 48% of people ages 50 to 80 who take blood pressure medication or have high blood pressure check their blood pressure regularly at home or elsewhere, a new study finds.

A slightly higher number – but still only 62% – say a healthcare provider encouraged them to have such checks. Respondents whose providers recommended checking their blood pressure at home did so three and a half times more often than those who could not remember receiving such a recommendation.

The findings underscore the importance of investigating the reasons why patients at risk don’t check their blood pressure and why providers don’t recommend it — as well as finding ways to encourage more people with these health conditions to check their pressure regularly. This could play an important role in helping patients live longer and maintain heart and brain health, the study authors say.

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Previous research has shown that regular monitoring at home can help control blood pressure and that better control can mean a reduced risk of death; cardiovascular events including stroke and heart attack; and from cognitive impairment and dementia.

The findings are published in the JAMA Network Open by a team from Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan’s academic medical center. The data comes from the National Poll on Healthy Aging and builds on a report released last year.

The survey, hosted by the UM Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and supported by Michigan Medicine and AARP, asked adults ages 50 to 80 about their chronic medical conditions, out-of-hospital blood pressure monitoring, and interactions with healthcare providers about blood pressure . Study authors Mellanie V. Springer, MD, MS, of the Michigan Medicine Department of Neurology, and Deborah Levine, MD, MPH, of the Department of Internal Medicine, worked with the NPHA team to develop the survey questions and analyze the results .

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Data in the new study comes from 1,247 respondents who said they were either taking a medication to control their blood pressure or had a chronic health condition that requires blood pressure control — specifically, a history of stroke, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease or high blood pressure.

Of these, 55% said they owned a blood pressure monitor, although some said they never use it. Among those who use it, there was a wide variation in how often they checked their pressure — and only about half said they shared their readings with a healthcare provider. But those who own a monitor were more than 10 times more likely to check their blood pressure outside of a healthcare setting than those who don’t.

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The authors note that blood pressure monitoring is associated with lower blood pressure and is inexpensive. They say the results suggest protocols should be developed to educate patients about the importance of self-monitoring of blood pressure and to share readings with physicians.

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Materials provided by Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan. Originally written by Kara Gavin. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.

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