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How To Achieve Target Blood Pressure?

By: Ng Peng Hock

It is not easy for doctors to bring down blood pressure of people with hypertension to target blood pressure, even with the help of drugs. A study conducted in United Kingdom had shown that the condition of people with high blood pressure improves more when they monitor their blood pressure at home instead of at a doctor's clinic. Home monitoring was linked to a greater number of people achieving target blood pressure.

The study, conducted by a group of doctors from St. George's Hospital Medical School in London, reported in June 2004 in the British Medical Journal and at the European Society of Hypertension meeting in Paris on June 2004. The researcher analyzed at random 18 controlled trials involving a total of 1,359 patients who monitored their pressure at home, and 1,355 whose blood pressure was monitored in the healthcare system.

It was found that systolic (upper reading) and diastolic (lower reading) pressure were both lower in people who had home blood-pressure monitoring. After factoring in various adjustments, systolic and diastolic pressures were about 2 points lower. The likelihood of having blood pressure above predetermined targets was also lower when people measured their blood pressure at home.

The researchers did not agree the difference is due to the fact that when one goes out of clinic, he or she relaxes and the corresponding blood pressure is lower. Instead, it is the procedure of taking care of the blood pressure throughout the trial that has led to the blood pressure being lowered when getting to the clinic.

It is not clear why home monitoring makes this difference, although increased awareness of blood pressure probably makes people more likely to engage in healthy lifestyle and so on.

My mother is a good example of getting target blood pressure most of the time. She has been on the list of hypertension for more than two decades. Since she had survived a stroke 16 years ago, her blood pressure has always been well controlled until now. She has a habit of measuring her blood pressure 3 times a day: one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one at night before going to bed. On a daily basis, she recorded all the readings of her blood pressure on a booklet without fail. She will show it to her doctor each time she visits him. By doing so, the doctor can make adjustment on the dosage and timing of taking the drugs accordingly at time when the blood pressure does not hit the target. The doctor is very impressed about her act and never forgets to praise her each time he sees her.

Bear in mind that high blood pressure is a risk factor of heart disease. If people with high blood pressure can achieve their target level at all time, chances that they will develop any kind of heart disease will be greatly reduced.

Source: How to Achieve Target Blood Pressure?

Adapted by Editorial Staff, February 2007
Last update, July 2008



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