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Blood pressure control requires a team effort

May 21st, 2012
Staff Writer

Blood pressure control requires a team || approach, experts say.Blood pressure control requires a team of health specialists who can guide the patient to better health, experts said in a new report issued recently from the Institute of Medicine, an organization that advises the federal government on health issues.

A panel of experts conducted an extensive review of medical research and concluded that patients need a team-based approach to blood pressure control -- a primary care provider supported by a pharmacist, nurse, dietitian, social worker or community health worker—rather than by a single physician.

The team-based approach leads to a decrease on both systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as improvements in outcomes in patients who had diabetes and high cholesterol, according to the summary. The team workes together by supplementing the actions of the primary care doctor, providing support for the goals and sharing responsibility for patient medical management, follow-up care and monitoring the patient’s progress.

“Adoption of this model throughout the United States would improve blood pressure control for the 68 million American adults who have high blood pressure and reduce their risk of heart attack, stroke, and other health problems,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “This analysis shows that when primary care physicians and other health care professionals with different expertise and approaches work together to support their patients, they can find the right formula for getting blood pressure under control.”

High blood pressure contributes to the deaths of more than 330,000 Americans each year. In another study published this month, scientists found that people whose parents had high blood pressure could reduce their own risk of the disease with moderate exercise and increased cardiovascular fitness. The study, in the journal Hypertension, found highly fit people who had a parent with high blood pressure had a 34% lower risk of developing the disease themselves.

Advice on reducing high blood pressure can be found on this website sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.