Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Self management of hypertension

Dr. Niladri Sarkar discusses about various tips of hypertension management & also highlights the importance of management of hypertension

Published: Mar 28, 2022 07:43:14 PM IST

Hypertension, which is among the most common chronic diseases in adults, is a major cause of stroke, heart disease, and renal failure. About one billion people live with hypertension worldwide, many of whom do not control their blood pressure well, despite the fact that lowering BP lessens the risk of renal and cardiovascular disease. One of the most effective ways of coping with hypertension is through self-management, making patients more responsible for their own care.

Managing a chronic illness such as hypertension is a time consuming and complex process. You and your informal caregivers are required to make day-to-day decisions about such actions as:
•    How to respond to new symptoms?
•    What and how much to eat?
•    Whether to take the medication? or
•    Whether to exercise?

In the long run, all of these can have substantial effects on clinical outcomes. These day-to-day decisions and tasks are referred to as self-management.

What all you can do to self-manage your high blood pressure?

Effective self-management of hypertension consists of:

•    Self-monitoring of disease control and symptoms

•    Knowing when blood pressure levels or symptoms indicate a problem

•    Responding with appropriate actions (adjust medications, initiate a call to a health care provider)

•    Making major lifestyle changes (e.g., stop smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, modify diet, lose weight, and increase exercise)

•    Adhere to medication regimens (even in the absence of symptoms),

•    Identify and respond to the psychosocial contributors to chronic disease management

•    Maintain regular contact with the health care provider for monitoring progress
Does self-management actually make difference?

•    Studies suggest that self-management of hypertension, where patients measure their own blood pressure in nonclinical settings are superior to traditional office-based hypertension management.

•    Self-management results in more frequent BP measurement, which helps your doctor, better assess the degree of your hypertension.

•    Research has also shown that self-management support and education can improve medication adherence, self-efficacy, self-rated health, cognitive symptom management, frequency of aerobic exercise, and depression.

How can I self-manage my blood pressure?

•    Self-measured blood pressure monitoring: You can assess and record blood pressure across different points, at least twice a day, in time outside of a clinical, community, or the public setting, typically at home. Make sure to discuss with your doctors about your blood pressure goals.

•    Recording the blood pressure: Record your blood pressure on a standardized form which can be reviewed in subsequent visits.

•    Following the appropriate lifestyle modifications: Make healthy lifestyle changes including a healthy and low-sodium diet, exercise, gain knowledge about your condition by reading.

•    Being regular for your medical check-ups: It is important to track your progress with self-management, and also to set future goals to be achieved, which may be related to therapy, lifestyle, etc.

Self-Management is one of the most important aspects of hypertension care. Studies suggest that self-management of hypertension with self-monitoring of blood pressure levels and self-titration of antihypertensive medications results in significantly lower systolic blood pressure compared with usual care. You must collaborate with your healthcare provider to improve your ability and confidence for self-management, to yield even greater improvements in BP control.

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