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Telemedicine may have helped with rising blood pressure during pandemic: study

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The availability of telemedicine may have helped mitigate the spike in blood pressure levels seen in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study released Tuesday.

In the study supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers looked at adult blood pressure data from three major health care systems: Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York and Ochsner Health in New Orleans. .

They analyzed the electronic health records of 137,593 patients and found that blood pressure levels increased significantly in the eight months after the stay-at-home orders were issued compared to the roughly 1-year period and half before the pandemic.

The number of people with controlled blood pressure – levels below what is considered high blood pressure – also fell by about 3.4 percentage points over the same period.

The average age of the patients in this study was 66 years.

This is not the first study to note the impact of the pandemic on blood pressure. The American Heart Association (AHA) published its own study last year in which it observed a similar trend in early 2020. The AHA study found that women and older people had the measurements of highest blood pressure during the first months of the pandemic.

Although worsening blood pressure was observed, the NIH noted that the study results were not as bad as might have been expected. The agency attributed this to “the rapid adoption of telemedicine and home blood pressure monitoring”.

“The successful use of these alternatives to in-person office visits provides reason for optimism about improved blood pressure control in future disasters and public health emergencies, the researchers say,” the researcher said. NIH.

“We expected blood pressure control to be worse due to decreased physical activity, stress, lack of sleep and other cardiovascular disease risk factors that worsened during the pandemic. “said study leader Hiroshi Gotanda. “But the results were better than we expected, probably because of the use of telemedicine and home blood pressure monitoring.”

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