A new study has suggested tens of thousands of lives could be saved if home blood pressure monitoring kits were introduced for patients at risk.
Researchers at Edinburgh University found that giving patients the responsibility of checking their own blood pressure improved their condition, with those using the 'telemonitoring' system lowering their blood pressure more successfully than those that didn't.
The portable device also allows patients to record their blood pressure, and send the readings directly to medical staff.
In a six-month trial involving 400 people, aged between 29 and 95, half were given the telemonitoring device, while the remainder received normal blood pressure care from their local GP.
The researchers said that receiving regular readings via the device, doctors were more likely to prescribe anti-high blood pressure drugs, and patients were more likely to accept medication.
According to the Daily Mail, Professor Brian McKinstry, from Edinburgh University's Centre for Population Health Sciences, said: "We found that the use of supported telemonitoring in patients who manage their high blood pressure at home produces important reductions in blood pressure."
Though he conceded that further testing on a much larger scale would determine whether there were long-term positive effects, and whether the system was viable in terms of cost, Prof. McKinstry added: "We believe that telemonitoring has the potential to be implemented in many healthcare settings."
It is estimated that poor blood pressure control is the cause of around 62,000 unnecessary deaths from stroke and heart disease in the UK alone.
Do you suffer from high blood pressure? Would a 'telemonitoring' device help you to stay healthy? Leave your comments below...