Here at Aktiia it’s our mission to ease the burden of hypertension. A major part of that mission is equipping people with the information they need to help get their hypertension under control. This month we’re taking the opportunity to share some positive examples of programs and methods from our respected peers at other organizations that have been proven to help people manage their hypertension.
The first step to controlling hypertension is being diagnosed and accepting the diagnosis. Multiple organizations in the US, UK, and internationally have successfully spread the “Know Your Numbers” awareness campaign. It’s also very important to help patients understand how extremely common hypertension is, in order to remove the fear and stigma around the diagnosis.
But even after diagnosis, there’s still only a 50% rate of effective control of hypertension. Low levels of patient engagement and requiring visits to the doctors’ office can contribute to this outcome. Recently there has been significant evidence that home-based digital interventions can increase the control rate substantially; this is achieved through home measurements synced to electronic health records, allowing for improved treatment plans and/or personalized health coaching.
In a study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 81-91% of participants achieved control in 7 weeks by taking home measurements and having their medication automatically titrated by an algorithm. Kaiser Permanente implemented a comprehensive program that got control rates to 90% from 44% across their whole system. The Million Hearts Program also highlights many other practices who have achieved over 80% control rates among their hypertensive patients, often taking these types of innovative approaches.
That said, if all of this talk of digital interventions sounds very boring, significant research supports a complementary approach: eating more garlic. So if you are trying to find a heart-healthy way to season your food, extra salt is out, and extra garlic is in!