According to the CDC around one in three million U.S. adults have high blood pressure which increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.
Clinical guidelines recommend that adults with hypertension self-monitor their blood pressure control in order to improve health outcomes for patients with hypertension. Self-measured blood pressuring monitoring (SMBP) is one such strategy that is being promoted by Million Hearts® and numerous national and international health organizations.
Dr. Katrin Uhlig, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, lead researcher of this review and colleagues conducted a systematic review in order to summarize evidence about the effectiveness of self-measured blood pressure (SMBP) monitoring in adults with hypertension.
For the review researchers examined 52 studies from Medline (beginning to 8 February 2013), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (fourth quarter 2012). The studies followed who self-monitored their blood pressure and those who had received usual care.
The review revealed for self-monitoring blood pressure (SMBP) alone versus usual care evidence supports (moderate strength) a lower BP with SMBP monitoring at 6 months at 3.9 mm Hg and −2.4 mm Hg for systolic BP and diastolic BP,
For SMBP monitoring plus additional support versus usual care (25 comparisons), high-strength evidence supports a lower BP with use of SMBP monitoring, ranging from −3.4 to −8.9 mm Hg for systolic BP and from −1.9 to −4.4 mm Hg for diastolic BP, at 12 months in good-quality studies.
In their conclusion the researchers write “Self-measured BP monitoring with or without additional support lowers BP compared with usual care, but the BP effect beyond 12 months and long-term benefits remain uncertain. Additional support enhances the BP-lowering effect.”
Dr. Hayden Bosworth, PhD, a health services researcher at Duke University and Associate Director of the Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care and Career Award Scientist at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center in North Carolina commented “Self-monitoring allows individuals to take more ownership of their own healthcare and track themselves how they’re doing,” he explained. “If you eat five ham biscuits for breakfast … you can see the implications of that through your blood pressure in monitoring that relatively quickly, as well as if you exercise.”
One in three million? Not bad. Typo alert. 😉 I do recommend watching your stress level as well. Too bad there isn’t a little finger cuff that could monitor your bp during the day and show you graphs.