If you are over 50 and have high blood pressure or a medical condition for which blood pressure monitoring is essential, having blood pressure checks at home can avert medical emergencies.
The problem is that too few of these people actually run them, a new survey shows.
“This survey shows that we have more work to do to encourage older adults with certain chronic health conditions to monitor their blood pressure,” said Alison Bryant, senior vice president of research at AARP.
“We know that the risk of high blood pressure increases with age, so this is an important topic that older adults should discuss with a doctor,” said Bryant.
The University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation’s National Poll on Healthy Aging surveyed more than 2,000 adults ages 50 to 80.
60% said they were either taking medication to control their blood pressure or had a chronic condition that required blood pressure control, such as stroke, heart disease, heart failure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.
Of these patients, the 74% who said they had a blood pressure monitor at home were more likely to check their blood pressure at home than those who did not.
But less than half of those with a blood pressure-related health condition who had a home blood pressure monitor said they had their blood pressure checked at least once a week, and 19% said they had never used their monitor.
According to the survey, only about two-thirds of those who had blood pressure-related health problems said that their health care providers encouraged them to check their blood pressure regularly.
Of the older adults who said they took regular blood pressure measurements at home, only 50% shared their readings with a doctor.
Of those with blood pressure-related health problems who did not have a home blood pressure monitor, 54% said it was because they did not think necessary or had never considered it.
“For people with these chronic diseases, uncontrolled high blood pressure can significantly increase the risk of death, stroke, heart attack, diabetes complications and kidney failure. Deborah Levine, a blood pressure researcher at the University of Michigan, said in a university press release.
“The more people with these health problems can monitor their blood pressure between appointments with their doctor, nurse or another provider and share readings digitally or over the phone, the more information their provider has to advise and treat them,” said the neurologist Dr . Mellanie Springer, of Michigan Medicine, who collaborated with Levine on the survey.
The American Heart Association has more about home blood pressure monitoring.
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