Nearly half of the U.S. population is affected by hypertension, and multiple studies have found it to be common among COVID-19 patients, particularly those who were put on a ventilator, entered the intensive care unit or died. When that information is combined with the fact that 48% of adults say they or someone in their household rescheduled or passed up medical appointments because of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19., physicians today are left with a quandary: How can they help patients control their BP from home?
The answer is self-measured blood pressure (SMBP) monitoring. With SMBP monitoring, patients can measure their blood pressure at home twice daily for seven days, and then provide that information to their medical team. This helps physicians and other health professionals help patients with hypertension achieve and maintain their BP goals.
“They don’t even have to come into the office,” said Daichi Shimbo, MD, a professor of medicine and the director of the Hypertension Center and Translational Laboratory at Columbia University in New York. “They transmit the information to the clinician and the clinician can review those readings and then make a judgment of how that individual is doing.”
Dr. Shimbo recently talked about the importance of SMBP monitoring with Greg Wozniak, PhD, the AMA’s director of outcome analytics, and Hillary K. Wall, MPH, a senior scientist in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s division for heart disease and stroke prevention and the science lead for the Million Hearts Initiative. The conversation was part of the AMA’s daily series of COVID-19 video updates.
“Self-measured blood pressure monitoring was important prior to COVID-19, and it’s becoming even more important now—and after—in getting patients under control and maintaining their blood pressure values,” said Wozniak.
Do you plan to start using a blood pressure monitor? You’re part of a growing group. Doctors are telling more and more people with high blood pressure to check their numbers at home.
Why? At the doctor’s office, your blood pressure reading only shows your numbers at that moment. A home monitor lets you check it often. This can give your doctor a better idea of your true blood pressure. The best way to know for sure if you have high blood pressure is to measure it several times a day for a few months.
There are lots of home blood pressure monitors to choose from. Many cost less than $100. You don’t need a prescription to get one. You can find them at your local pharmacy, a discount store, a medical supply store, and online.
You can even choose a model that you wear on your arm or wrist during the day. But not all of these are accurate. That’s why it’s important to bring your blood pressure monitor to the doctor before you start to use it. She can test it against the ones used in her office.
Even if you don’t know anything about blood pressure monitor, you can still make a smart buying decision with the right information in hand. At loylada, we perform extensive research in every product category. To avoid bias, we always decline offers from manufacturers for “free” samples. We want to be your go-to source for honest, thorough product reviews you can trust.