Multi-society statement urges home monitoring of high blood pressure patients

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Monitoring blood pressure at home should be routine for people with high blood pressure, according to a new joint statement from the American Heart Association (AHA), American Society of Hypertension and the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses’ Association.

“All people with high blood pressure are being advised to monitor their blood pressure themselves — just as people with diabetes have been self-monitoring insulin levels for years,” said Daniel Jones, MD, AHA president and dean of the school of medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss.

The AHA has an array of free, online tools to track and manage blood pressure, which include:

  • High Blood Pressure Risk Calculator: Patients track their blood pressure readings to determine the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke, as well as developing heart failure or kidney disease.
  • Heart Profilers Online Treatment Decision Tool: Patients enter blood pressure readings and other information in the confidential online tool to get a personalized report to determine the best treatment plan. The tool allows patients to become involved in their care by reviewing the pros and cons of treatment options and by suggesting questions to ask their doctor.
  • Blood Pressure Management Center (in alliance with Microsoft HealthVault): Patients can enter their blood pressure numbers at each reading and track weight, physical activity and more. Patients can also generate a printed report.

The AHA site also includes tips and information on how to select the right type of home blood pressure monitor, how to measure blood pressure and how to calibrate a blood pressure monitor for accuracy.

“Becoming more active in their own care may also motivate patients to take other measures to lower their blood pressure, such as increasing physical activity, reducing salt and following a healthy dietary pattern,” Jones said.