Only about half of people with hypertension or blood pressure-related conditions monitor regularly, but guidelines from healthcare professionals encourage older people to do so more often at home.
According to a recent survey, only 48% of people between the ages of 50 and 80 who use blood pressure medication or have a medical condition affected by high blood pressure frequently monitor their blood pressure at home or elsewhere.
A slightly higher percentage—still only 62%—say they were advised to perform these tests by a medical professional. Respondents who said their providers advised them to monitor their blood pressure at home were three and a half times more likely to do so than those who did not recall receiving such advice.
The findings underscore the importance of investigating the causes of at-risk patients’ failure to check their blood pressure and the reasons why healthcare providers do not advise them to do so – as well as developing strategies to encourage more people with these conditions to do it regularly. According to the research authors, this may be crucial in helping patients live longer and maintain heart and brain health.
Previous research has shown that regular home blood pressure monitoring can help with control and that better control can lead to a lower risk of mortality from cardiovascular events, including strokes and heart attacks; and cognitive impairment and dementia.
The results are published in the journal JOpen AMA Network by a team from Michigan Medicine, the academic medical center of the University of Michigan. The data comes from the National Healthy Aging Survey and is based on a report published last year.
The survey, based at the UM Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and supported by Michigan Medicine and AARP, asked adults between the ages of 50 and 80 about their chronic health conditions, blood pressure monitoring outside of clinics and interactions with healthcare providers regarding 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 questions of the survey and analyze the results.
The data in the new article comes from the 1,247 respondents who said they were taking medication to control their blood pressure or had a chronic health condition requiring blood pressure control – specifically, history of stroke, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure. , diabetes, chronic kidney disease or hypertension.
Of these, 55% said they own a blood pressure monitor, although some said they never use it. Among those using it, there was a wide variation in how often they checked their blood pressure – and only around 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 health care settings than those who don’t.
The authors note that blood pressure monitoring is associated with lower blood pressure and is cost-effective. They say the findings suggest protocols should be developed to educate patients about the importance of monitoring blood pressure and sharing readings with clinicians.
Reference: “Prevalence and Frequency of Self-Measured Blood Pressure Monitoring in American Adults 50–80 Years of Age” by Mellanie V. Springer, MD, MS, Preeti Malani, MD, MSJ, Erica Solway, Ph.D ., MSW, MPH, Matthias Kirch, MS, Dianne C. Singer, MPH, Jeffrey T. Kullgren, MD, MS, MPH and Deborah A. Levine, MD, MPH, September 14, 2022, Open JAMA Network.
The study was funded by the University of Michigan and AARP.
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