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Health Research Board-funded study identifies approaches to control high blood pressure in community based care

1 December 2006

Patient self-management and organised follow up can help reduce high blood pressure

Chronically high blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to serious medical problems such as heart disease and stroke - so keeping blood pressure under control is an important public health issue.

Yet only 25 - 40 per cent of patients who take anti-hypertensive drug treatment manage to achieve their blood pressure goals, and that figure has remained unchanged for decades.

But a study funded by the Health Research Board has identified practices in community-based care that could help tackle the problem. 

The research is one of over 40 projects highlighted in the Health Research Board?s annual Picture of Health 2011 publication.

Launched on Thursday December 1st, the HRB Picture of Health communicates the findings of recently funded research to a general audience.

One of the studies included in this year?s Picture of Health is a HRB-funded Cochrane review study led by Dr Liam Glynn.

The research analysed 72 randomised controlled trials in the published literature that looked at dealing with hypertension in the community-care setting. 

Overall, the review found that education aimed at patients or healthcare professionals does not appear to be effective - what works best is good organisation that sees patients regularly followed up and recalled for appointments.

Other strategies for success encourage patients to monitor their own blood pressure or involve other health professionals such as nurses and pharmacists in blood pressure management in the community.

?It has direct translation to everyday clinical practice,? says Dr Glynn, a Senior Lecturer in General Practice at NUI Galway and GP in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. ?We need to improve organisation in terms of diagnosing, treating and following up patients with hypertension; and that can include nurse-led care, the use of technology such as text messages to remind patients to take their medication or come to appointments and also getting patients more involved in the monitoring of their own illness.?

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