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One in ten patients measure their own BP

Almost 10% of the adult population admit to self-testing blood pressure, a survey has shown

Individuals were more likely to have measured their own blood pressure if they had a university degree, were retired, lived in an affluent area or had a chronic illness.

The study of almost 3,000 men and women found those who had tested their blood pressure at home were also more likely to have used other self-tests, for example those for cholesterol and glucose.

The researchers from the University of Birmingham recommended GPs incorporate self-testing into patient management in order to avoid confusion, inaccuracy and unnecessary anxiety.

Study leader, Dr Richard McManus, senior lecturer in primary care at the University of Birmingham and GP in the city suggested it was not surprising that people diagnosed with hypertension checked their blood pressure at home but the findings suggest many others are also self-testing.

He said that the benefits of self-testing included better control of hypertension and reducing the ‘white coat' effect.

‘Also we know that self-monitoring on its own reduces blood pressure', he said.

But he added: ‘To gain maximum benefit, self-testing of BP should take place within a partnership between patients and professionals.'

British Hypertension Society guidelines recommend sub-tracting 10/5 mmHg from practice readings to convert to home equivalents.

The study carried our by postal questionnaire in the West Midlands is published in the Journal of Human Hypertension.

One in ten patients now takes their own BP readings BP self monitoring

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