Study explores how GPs can help blood pressure patients in “real life”.

It is well known that hypertension control is not satisfactory, but it is not clear how many hypertensive patients can be controlled in real life. A group of researchers addressed this question implementing a simple, multifaceted improvement strategy in family practice.

For their study, just published by BMC Family Practice, 18 General Practitioners (GPs) who cared for 24,918 people in sum, agreed upon a simple strategy that aimed to implement better blood pressure measurement, empowerment of patients, and higher therapeutic adherence. The strategy included: 1) the use of occasional direct or indirect contacts (such as prescription re-filling without patient-doctor contact) to decrease missing blood pressure recordings, and to increase therapeutic adherence, 2) the use of home blood pressure measurements in non-controlled patients, and 3) the addition of a new drug in non-controlled, but adequately adherent patients. Results were assessed after one year from the clinical records of all hypertensive subjects.

The results showed that the patients with a diagnosis of hypertension increased from 25.3 percent at baseline (6.309 patients, of which 45.5 percent were men aged 58.5 years on average) to 27 percent. The recording of blood pressure increased from 68.2 percent (in 4,305 patients at baseline) to 78.4 percent (4,948 patients). Blood pressure control increased from 50.8 percent of all diagnosed hypertensive patients and 74.4 percent of subjects with recorded blood pressure values; to 64.1 percent of all diagnosed hypertensives and 81.7 percent of subjects with recorded values.

They concluded that almost 82 percent of hypertensive subjects who contact their doctors and who extensively use home blood pressure monitoring, can be easily controlled. Despite the GPs’ efforts, more than 20 percent of hypertensive patients remain unwilling or unable to contact their physicians. Also, in almost all the remaining non-controlled patients, GPs fail to increase drug therapy by using multiple meds thus impairing an even higher blood pressure control rate. They stated that additional improvement is possible, but new strategies are needed.

GPs might also recommend that their patients try natural, non-drug treatments for high blood pressure that can be used from the comfort of their own homes ― especially for those who are sensitive to the side-effects of meds and who find it difficult to keep doctor appointments. RESPeRATE is the first non-drug, FDA-approved medical device clinically proven to lower blood pressure. RESPeRATE, which is a home-use device, is also used as a treatment for stress, which in itself can lead to high blood pressure.

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