The University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (IHPI), https://ihpi.umich.edu, which describes itself as “the nation’s largest university-based group of health services researchers,” conducted a poll on healthy aging in January, 2021. The poll, of a national sample of adults aged 50–80, looked at health conditions that especially benefit from blood pressure (BP) control and the subjects’ experiences with BP monitoring.
IHPI wrote, “Millions of older adults have hypertension or other chronic health conditions that especially benefit from blood pressure (BP) control. When added to BP monitoring in the health care setting, monitoring one’s own BP at home or in other settings can result in improved BP control.”1
According to the authors, 60% of those polled reported they have one or more BP-related health conditions. That term was defined to mean stroke, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, hypertension, or needing to take BP medication. Among those with BP-related health conditions, 62% had been told by a health care provider to check their BPs periodically. Some 48% reported doing regular home BP monitoring.
Interestingly, adults with excellent or very good mental health were more likely to do home BP monitoring than those with good, fair, or poor mental health (52% vs. 41%). Half (50%) reported sharing their home BP readings with their health care providers. Those who shared home BP readings with their health providers were more likely to do home BP monitoring regularly than those who did not do so (88% vs. 67%). Most older adults who shared their home BP readings received feedback from their health care providers (88%).
The poll confirms the high correlation between serious illnesses and high blood pressure. It suggests that monitoring one’s blood pressure can be beneficial, but that more people should adopt the practice, especially those specifically asked to do so by their providers. Finally, the poll gives good reason to think that disclosing the results of BP monitoring with one’s health professional is a good way to get advice and counsel and a step in the direction of better blood pressure control.
1 IMHI, “Home Blood Pressure Monitoring Among Older Adults,” National Poll on Healthy Aging, October, 2021, https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/170320/0252_NPHA-Blood-pressure-report-FINAL-10062021-v2.pdf?sequence=4&isAllowed=y.