A monitor attached to a mobile device helps people with type 2 diabetes lower their blood pressure more than simply having a blood pressure monitor available in the home. That’s the conclusion of a year-long study conducted by the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada. The study showed that type 2 patients whose blood pressure was actively reported to their doctors via a Bluetooth-enabled device enjoyed lower blood pressure than patients whose readings were not passed on to doctors.
The study looked at 110 adults with type 2 and uncontrolled systolic hypertension-a form of high blood pressure. The control group used a standard home monitor to track their blood pressure readings. The intervention group was equipped with Bluetooth-enabled monitors that automatically transmitted blood pressure readings to each patient’s family doctor. Patients using the device who failed to monitor their blood pressure at least once every three days received automated reminders to do so.
At the start of the study, the mean daytime blood pressure reading for all participants was 142.7/77.1 mmHg. (The first number is for systolic, the second for diastolic; mmHg stands for millimeters of mercury, an indicator of pressure.) By the end, while there was no change in the control group’s numbers, the intervention group saw a decline of 9.1 mmHg in systolic blood pressure and a 4.66 mmHg decline in diastolic.
The Canadian researchers say that although the device enables doctors to better track their type 2 patients’ blood pressure and intervene when necessary, it was really the patients themselves who led the way in improving their blood pressure readings. Because they felt more accountable and knew that their doctors could monitor them, they became more active in taking measurements and steps to control their blood pressure levels.
The study findings were presented in Abstract 243 at the American Telemedicine Association’s 16th Annual International Meeting in Tampa in early May.