Self-Management May Reduce Blood Pressure

Hypertension patients at high risk for cardiovascular events benefited from self management

(RxWiki News) Hypertension (high blood pressure) is one of the top risk factors for disease around the world. But patients may have better outcomes when they take their blood pressure management into their own hands.

The authors of a recent study found that, in hypertensive patients with a history of diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease, self-monitoring was associated with lower blood pressure.

"Seek immediate medical care for high blood pressure."

To test whether self-monitoring lowered blood pressure in high-risk patients, Richard McManus, FRCGP, and colleagues found 552 stroke, heart disease, diabetes or kidney disease patients and split them into two groups: a group that self-monitored blood pressure and a control group that received standard care for hypertension, which included regular doctor visits.

Patients in the self-monitoring group regularly checked their blood pressure and adjusted their antihypertension medicine dosages accordingly. Adjusting medicine dosage is only recommended with a doctor's approval.

The University of Oxford team found that, on average, the 230 patients from the self-monitoring group saw a 9.2-point lower systolic (top number) blood pressure than the control group after one year. The self-monitoring group also had a 3.4-point lower diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure. The average blood pressure dropped in both groups.

The study authors noted that lower blood pressure could be particularly beneficial to high-risk patients' health.

“This is a population with the most to gain in terms of reducing future cardiovascular events from optimized blood pressure control,” the authors wrote.

In a JAMA editorial about the research, Peter Nilsson, MD, PhD, highlighted the importance of the research findings.

"What makes the study of particular clinical importance is the recruitment of patients who were at high risk of cardiovascular disease ... and the demonstration that the patient-centered technique was safe with no increase in adverse events compared with traditional treatment in a randomized setting," he wrote.

This study was published online Aug. 26 in JAMA.

The National Institute for Health Research funded the study. Several authors received research equipment from companies like Microlife and BP TRU.

Review Date: 
August 21, 2014