High blood pressure (hypertension) rarely has noticeable symptoms, but if left untreated it increases your risk of heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, stroke or dementia. This is because this higher pressure puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels.
One in three adults is affected by high blood pressure, but as many as a third of these can be unaware of a problem. The only way of knowing there is a problem is to regularly have your blood pressure checked. This is particularly important as you get older, as the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle can build up and your blood pressure can increase.
While self-checking is not a substitute for seeing a doctor, being able to regularly measure and most importantly track blood pressure over time is of great help in understanding how dietary, fitness and other changes effect your blood pressure.
To find out how effective smart blood pressure monitors actually are, Withings teamed up with the American Medical Group Association (AMGA). The project, which lasted some 18 months, analysed the effectiveness of self-measurement in helping patients lower their blood pressure. Patients were provided with Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitors to take their readings at home and send to their doctor on a regular basis.
The results clearly showed that home monitoring helps to manage hypertension. Around 60% of patients in the study group were considered to have high blood pressure before the study. This shrunk to some 30% at the conclusion of the project 18 months later.
Essential reading: Withings wireless blood pressure monitor
The study also found that connected blood pressure monitors helped patients create a more meaningful dialogue with their doctors. Smart blood pressure monitors offer the convenience of recording all readings and keeping a historical account in a handy app, so that you can easily see any trends or patterns, which can help you to make lifestyle changes more quickly. With the ability to easily create and share a blood pressure history, doctors are able to gain a more complete view of a patients health than a one-time measurement can provide. Mobile apps are also helpful in nudging patients towards measurement best practices, making home monitoring more reliable.
According to the study, doctors stated “the device improved patient’s motivation to try to control their blood pressure”.
One medical group stated that the results carried over beyond blood pressure monitoring. It was observed that the experience improved patient compliance, not only for blood pressure, but for other health conditions as well.
Essential reading: Our roundup of the leading blood pressure monitors
There may be lots of gimmicks or unnecessary bits of equipment for your health available today, but please rest assured that home monitors for blood pressure are not gimmicks and they are highly useful. So useful they could actually save your life!
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