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Checking Blood Pressure at Home Pays Off

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Simple tests, like blood pressure monitoring is simple, and efficiently done at home. Sridharan Mani, Director & CEO, American Megatrends India Pvt Ltd, discusses the growing need and utility of health monitoring gadgets

Heart disease, hypertension and diabetes are few examples of silent killers that take a huge toll of life globally. The American Heart Association recommends regular home monitoring for everyone with high blood pressure. This helps the healthcare provider to determine if the treatments are working effectively.
To detect the early signs of silent killers, one must check their vitals consistently at regular intervals. Only regular monitoring can ensure and identify the silent killers and therefore, keep them at bay.

According to Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter, “Checking blood pressure at home pays off.” He points out that 72 percent of high BP patients kept their BP under control when they did regular BP monitoring at home.

Device quality and accuracy
Consumer grade monitors are often believed to be lacking in quality and accuracy when compared to clinically approved monitors. Most of the consumer grade monitors sold in the market is not validated by authentic agencies like AAMI or BHS. A study was conducted on “Home sphygmomanometers: validation versus accuracy” found that out of five hundred automatic blood pressure monitors, 72 percent of the units showed incorrect readings. The research revealed that the devices meeting British Hypertension Society’s (BHS) standards are more likely to be accurate.

Affordability
Approved vital monitoring devices are 3 to 4 times more expensive than those of non-approved devices. Affordability of standards approved device is a key issue.

Usability
Many of the automatic home monitoring devices sold in the market are semi-automatic and require regular calibration. One has to calibrate the devices from time to time to ensure the readings are accurate. Some of the devices have limited storage and may lack in providing comparative reports. Comparatively, clinical grade devices are bulky and not portable. An ideal home monitoring device should meet clinical standards, remain usable, portable and also be affordable.

Key facts

  • Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) are the number one cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause
  • An estimated 17.3 million people died from CVDs in 2008, representing 30 percent of all global deaths
  • Of these deaths, an estimated 7.3 million were due to coronary heart disease and 6.2 million were due to stroke
  • Low and middle-income countries are disproportionally affected: over 80 percent of CVD deaths take place in low and middle-income countries and occur almost equally in men and women
(Source: WHO)

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