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Newsletter Issue: 18 — Date: August 2007 — Web Site: http://www.my-blood-pressure.com

Welcome to the latest My Blood Pressure Newsletter. Our apologies for the long delay between newsletters. Steve and I have been working on exciting projects which I’ll update you on.

Also in this newsletter is the latest blood pressure research and a review of a new clinical study. The research compared the accuracy of taking blood pressure readings with a home monitor, in the doctors office and with a 24 hour Holter monitor. The results will surprise you!

Enjoy the newsletter!

Kellie and Steve

My Blood Pressure Update

Steve has been busy working on the latest version of My Blood Pressure which looks great. Thank you to everyone who has given us feedback on the current version, it has been very useful. Unfortunately, the new version is still a few months away but we will keep you posted.

I have been enjoying researching new product ideas. We are developing charting software for a few new programs. I would be interested in talking to anyone who tracks or is interested in tracking their blood glucose levels, blood oxygen levels (SpO2), heart rate, pedometer or body temperature. If you have any suggestions or ideas, please email me at kellie@my-blood-pressure.com

Thanks! Kellie

Blood Pressure News Roundup

A selection of breaking news stories relating to blood pressure. Clicking on the links will take you to a page on our website which contains a summary of the story, and links to other sources.

Surprising research has shown that blood pressure levels rise after a single high fat meal. It shows that one meal can have an immediate impact on blood pressure health. A new study also indicates that menopausal women who suffer hot flashes are at increased risk of hypertension.

My favorite news article this month is discovering the blood pressure secret of the giraffe. The latest blood pressure news stories make interesting reading. Enjoy!

Kellie

Single tablet combination drug
A study of over 10,000 people with high blood pressure showed single tablet combinations of drugs to be effective in controlling hypertension. Study leader, Professor Jamerson from the University of Michigan Medical School said, “This data suggests strongly that single tablets containing two drugs will control the vast majority of patients who are taking medication but have not achieved ideal blood pressure.” Patients in the trial took one of 2 drug combinations; either an ACE inhibitor with a diuretic or an ACE inhibitor with a calcium channel blocker. For more information see: The Key To Increasing Blood Pressure Control Rates may be a Single Tablet Containing Two Drugs link

High blood pressure vaccine
UK scientists have developed a high blood pressure vaccine which they say should be available within 5 years. The vaccine works by turning the body’s immune system against the hormone angiotensin, which increases blood pressure by narrowing arteries. However, the decrease in blood pressure of those who had the vaccine was less than those who took hypertension medication. Dr. Knapton from the British Heart Foundation said, “More than one in five heart attacks in Western Europe is caused by a history of high blood pressure. A vaccine is an interesting approach but more research will be needed.” For more information see: A Jab That Will Cure High Blood Pressure link

High fat meal spikes blood pressure
Canadian researchers have compared the cardiovascular effects of a single high fat meal to a low fat meal. Those who ate a high fat meal had blood pressure measurements up to 1.5 times higher than those who ate a low fat meal. The patients were tested 2 hours after eating a breakfast meal. Both meals contained the same calories, about 825. The study’s author, Prof. Campbell of the University of Calgary, said “Certainly we would expect to see this in people who eat high-fat meals on a regular basis. However, we were surprised to see that we could measure this effect following a single meal in healthy, young individuals.” For more information see: Single high-fat meal drives up blood pressure link

Curable high blood pressure found
Australian researchers have identified a type of high blood pressure which can be cured by surgery. They found about 10% of all hypertension sufferers have PAL or primary aldosteronism, which is hereditary. PAL is caused by excess hormonal activity in the adrenal glands. Professors Gordon and Stowasser have been removing the overactive adrenal glands surgically with good results. The only way to know if a patient has PAL is from a blood test and examination. Professor Stowasser said hypertension suffers should talk to their doctors to see if they could benefit from the surgery. For more information see: UQ Researchers Identify Thousands With Curable High Blood Pressure link

The blood pressure secret of a giraffe
Why don’t giraffes experience a head ‘rush’ when they lift up their long necks (15 feet/5 meters) from a drinking to a standing position in 2 seconds? Researchers at the University of Wyoming Zoology investigated why giraffes don’t experience dizziness or blood pressure related diseases. The secret lies in a muscular cuff around the jugular vein in the neck which acts like a cuff, similar to that used on the arm in human blood pressure tests. The muscular cuff regulates blood flow when the head lifts until, the heart can pump blood up the neck to the brain. For more information see: UW Professor Solves Giraffe Blood Pressure Question link

High blood pressure and hot flashes linked
A study at Weill Cornell Medical College has shown women who get hot flashes have higher blood pressure than those who do not. A hot flash or hot flush is a feeling of intense heat and rapid heartbeat and is common in menopausal women. The researchers studied 154 women with an average age of 46 years. Dr. Gerber, the lead researcher said, “One-third of the women we studied reported having had hot flashes within the past two weeks. Among these women, systolic blood pressure was significantly higher — even after adjusting for whether they were pre-menopausal, menopausal or post-menopausal.” For more information see: Hot Flashes in Women Linked to High Blood Pressure link

Contributed by: Kellie

Clinical Study Review: Which is the most accurate method for assessing blood pressure?

Introduction

I see a lot of clinical studies on blood pressure which I summarize into news items to keep readers up to date with the latest research. I came across a study recently on home monitoring which is really interesting and a must read.

I decided to purchase the article from The American Journal of Hypertension and have reviewed it. The study compared the accuracy of 3 different methods of taking blood pressure in indicating cardiovascular health. Most clinical studies can be very hard reading, I hope I have made it easier.

Which is the more accurate method of measuring blood pressure for cardiovascular health? Is it; a) using a blood pressure home monitor or, b) readings taken in the Doctors office or, c) wearing a 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure device? This is an important question for anyone managing high blood pressure.

A study published in the May edition of the American Journal of Hypertension answered this question. A team of researchers, headed by Dr Pickering at the Columbia University Medical Center, New York led the study.

The researchers had assumed that doctor’s office blood pressure measurements wouldn’t be the best indicator. They also assumed that 24 hour ambulatory monitoring would be the superior method. But it turned out that home monitoring was the winner! It also showed that the value of home monitoring increases as more readings are taken over time.

Study Aim

The aim was to assess the accuracy of home blood pressure monitoring (HBP), 24hr ambulatory monitoring (ABP) and blood pressure readings taken in a doctor’s office (OBP). The blood pressure tests were compared to the left-ventricular mass index (LVMI). The LVMI was calculated from an echocardiogram of the heart and indicates cardiovascular organ damage, an indicator of blood pressure.

Study Method

The researchers studied 163 people over a 10 week period, taking their blood pressure with the 3 different methods. The average age of the participants was 54 years and most had mild hypertension or healthy blood pressure levels.

On the first day the patients wore an ambulatory blood pressure device continually for 24 hrs. It took automatic blood pressure readings every 15 minutes between 6am to 10pm and readings every 30 minutes between 10pm and 6am. The patients returned the next day and had their readings taken in an office by a physician while still wearing the ABP monitor. The physician took 3 measurements with a mercury-column sphygmomanometer and stethoscope, after the patient had rested for at least 5 minutes.

The patients were then asked to monitor their blood pressure at home over a 10-week period using an Omron automatic HBP monitor. The patients were asked to take three measurements, 4 days a week, in the morning and evening. They were also asked to take three additional measurements on two occasions (at midmorning and mid-afternoon), 2 days a week, for a total of 36 measurements per week. At the end of the 10 week period the patients underwent a LVMI assessment including up to 6 two-dimensional echocardiograms in order to assess cardiovascular organ damage.

Study Results

The researchers found that home blood pressure monitoring, taken over a 10 week period was a significant independent predictor of LVMI even after adjusting for age, sex and BMI (body mass index). They found that home monitoring over time is a better indicator of cardiovascular health than ambulatory or doctor’s office readings. They predict that the value of home monitoring increases over time with the number of measurements taken.

The study discussed that home blood pressure monitoring is an easy and economical method of assessing blood pressure and has advantages over ambulatory monitoring. These include; lower cost, ease of availability and requires little work from the physician. The study authors wrote; “In conclusion, our data suggests that, compared with OBP and ABP, HBP measurements, when averaged over a 10-week period, are independently related to cardiovascular end-organ damage.”

This study shows home blood pressure monitoring over a 10 week period is the best indicator of blood pressure levels and cardiovascular health. A great reason to record and chart your blood pressure readings regularly over time.

Source; http://www.ajh-us.org/article/PIIS0895706107000490/abstract
American Journal of Hypertension
AJH – May 2007-VOL.20, NO. 5
Relative Utility of Home, Ambulatory, and Office Blood Pressures in the Predication of End-Organ Damage.

About us

This newsletter is put together by a brother and sister team.

Steven Alan is 38 and is the programmer of the My Blood Pressure software. Steve was diagnosed with high blood pressure in February 2004. Steve needs to monitor his blood pressure regularly, and will probably need to do so for the rest of his life. Steve’s systolic blood pressure was over 200 at one point, but recently he has got his blood pressure under control, and most readings are below 120/80.

Steve is responsible for contributing news about the software as well as tips and tricks for using the software.

Kellie Helen (Steve’s sister) is 36 and a full time mother to a 7 and 5 year old. In her spare time!, she has started working with Steve on the website and newsletter. Kellie grew up in a household which had its fair share of blood pressure problems! Their father has always had high blood pressure, but somehow Steve got all the high blood pressure genes, while in her teens, Kellie used to suffer from her blood pressure being too low. Kellie worked in the medical and surgical industry before becoming a full time mum, and is looking forward to spending more time on this project as her children get older.

Kellie is responsible for scouring the net for news stories of interest to people who monitor their blood pressure, and collecting and organizing stories contributed by subscribers.

My Health Software
PO Box 1468
Rozelle 2039
Australia
Kellie: kellie@my-blood-pressure.com
Steve: steve@my-blood-pressure.com

Disclaimer: Nothing contained in this newsletter is intended to be instructional for medical diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your health care provider.

Privacy Policy: We never sell or share subscribers email or other information with outside parties.

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