Researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden were able to develop a web-based modality that works in conjunction with a smartphone app to help individuals control blood pressure (BP) and manage hypertension effectively.

When blood pressure is sufficiently controlled, the risk of individuals developing cardiovascular complications are lessened. Aside from complying with the daily drug therapy recommended by clinicians, patients with known hypertension should also understand that a complex connection exists between blood pressure values and daily living.

Although people are aware that blood pressure medications should be coupled with lifestyle changes, this knowledge does not translate to people being able to achieve well-controlled blood pressure values.

Ulrika Bengtsson, a Phd student at the Sahlgrenska Academy of the Gothenburg University in Sweden, generated and evaluated a system where people can be aided to self-manage their blood pressure on a daily basis using their mobile phones.

The system is composed of three parts. The first one entails the participants to self report BP values, pulse rate, lifestyle, clinical symptoms and well being. For the second module, researchers sent messages of encouragements and daily reminders. The last part of the system involves a graphical feedback of self-reports.

The study, which lasted for more than eight weeks, involved 50 participants diagnosed with hypertension.

After analysis of data, the researchers found that using the system every day remarkably decreased both systolic and diastolic BP rates. The findings demonstrated that an interactive system was able to help patients understand the link between their lifestyle and blood pressure.

"The patients actively contributed to the follow-up discussions that were conducted at the end of the study," said Bengtsson. She added that the results were enhanced by associating BP values with a context, such as particular episodes of perceived stress, physical activity and inadequate sleep.

In the end, the authors said that the self-management tool they developed may be a helpful material in the clinical setting to aid patients control their hypertension.

The study was published in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension.

Photo: Johan Larsson | Flickr

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