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Prescribe Blood Pressure Monitors to reduce Stroke

Updated: Sep 14, 2020

Giving home monitors to those with high blood pressure would reduce heart attacks and other conditions

Blood pressure monitors should be handed out on prescription to slash the number of people who die or are left with disabilities from strokes and heart attacks, a medical charity has said.

Making the home monitors available to anyone diagnosed with high blood pressure would allow people to control the condition more effectively and reduce the demand on GPs’ surgeries, Blood Pressure UK said.

“It would make a huge difference,” said Prof Graham MacGregor, chair of the charity. “High blood pressure is the biggest killer in the world from the strokes and heart attacks it causes, and we know that if you are found to have raised blood pressure and it’s treated with tablets and lifestyle changes, it hugely reduces your risk.”

The charity was concerned that a poll of more than 2,000 people showed that of the 42% of people surveyed who had high blood pressure, 48% preferred not to say if it was under control.

The main risk factors for developing high blood pressure are eating too much salt and not eating enough fruit and vegetables, being overweight and not doing enough exercise.

MacGregor said: “As an individual, having your blood pressure checked is the most important step that you can take to reduce your risk of stroke, heart attack or heart failure. This is why we are calling for home monitors to be available to those most in need on prescription, especially at a time when appointments with GPs and nurses are restricted, which may prolong getting your blood pressure checked.”Of the 16 million people in the UK with high blood pressure, only half are on treatment and of those only about half are believed to have the condition under control. MacGregor said: “There’s a very large number of people with high blood pressure that is not being controlled and that causes a huge number of strokes and heart disease that is totally unnecessary.”

The charity called for the monitors to be given to patients in the same way that people with type 2 diabetes have glucose monitors to check on their blood sugar levels. MacGregor said allowing people to monitor their blood pressure at home would save the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds by easing the demand on GPs and nurses, and by reducing the number of patients who suffer heart attacks and strokes and require long-term care in the NHS.

MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine and honorary consultant at Barts and the London, said that bought bulk, the monitors might cost as little as £15 per patient, and instead of visiting their GPs, patients could phone or email in their blood pressure recordings.

“The cost is small and the savings would be huge, because people who monitor at home are better at controlling their blood pressure,” he said.

Reference - The Guardian

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