Blood Pressure Help Online

January 30, 2009 5:52:29 PM PST
Nearly one-third of all American adults suffer from high blood pressure, and most don't get the treatment they need. Now, a recent study shows there are ways to help these patients get their blood pressure under control -- and all it takes is a little accountability.John Mason says it's just habit now to check his blood pressure at home. It's a habit he learned online. Mason's blood pressure was uncontrolled when he joined a study looking at the effectiveness of pairing at-home monitoring with online counseling from a pharmacist.

"I would send him a prompter e-mail to see how he's been doing with lifestyle choices and his blood pressure readings," Shannon Jewell, Pharm.D., a pharmacist with the Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle, Wash., told Ivanhoe.

Jewell and Mason's online interaction created accountability.

"It made me take it more seriously where if I wouldn't have done that, I would have probably ? blew it off," Mason told Ivanhoe.

The pharmacist was able to tweak Mason's medication once or twice a month until it was just right for him, a process he admits wouldn't have happened if multiple doctors visits were required.

"It just showed us a fairly low-intensity intervention without clinical visits could get them under control," Beverly Green, M.D., M.P.H., study author and a researcher at the Group Health Center for Health Studies, told Ivanhoe.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found almost 60 percent of patients who took part in the online program had controlled blood pressure. That's compared to about 30 percent who received standard care. Reminders from his pharmacist even kept Mason walking regularly. At the beginning of the study, his blood pressure averaged 157 over 92. Now, it's 128 over 74.

"It's improved my life," Mason said.

Mason now knows controlling his blood pressure is a big step toward living a long and healthy life.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Rebecca Hughes
Senior Media Consultant
Group Health Center for Health Studies
Seattle, WA
(206) 287-2055
Hughes.r@ghc.org
http://www.centerforhealthstudies.org

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