“Do you have htn?” – Learning about home blood pressure monitoring first hand

The quote in the title of the post is the subject line (and the entire message actually) of an e-mail that was sent to me this morning from a colleague, after he saw this tweet:

Twitter - tedeytan- #homebp The WatchBP Home h ... (20090429).jpg

from this twitter stream of mine.

The answer is, I don’t have high blood pressure (“htn”) (that I know of), but I am learning about what it’s like to worry that I may have it.

To do this, I am trying out a new device, the WatchBP Home , that is novel in a specific way. Not the way people might think a blood pressure device might be, such as having bluetooth, wifi, or other technowizardry, but in a clinically important way – it has guidelines for checking blood pressure embedded in it such that it allows blood pressure checks at certain times of day, and produces meaningful results for patients and clinicians. Feel free to review the Web site yourself, or I’ll explain more about this in the future.

I’m going to keep tweeting about it after every measurement and will post thoughts about the experience when I am done. It’s been a great experience so far, not so much because of the device, but because of the experience.

As to the question of whether I have blood pressure or not – If you’ve been following my (many) posts on this blog about hypertension, it’s very likely that many people don’t know if they have high blood pressure either, because they have not gotten it checked (about 1/3 of people with high blood pressure are in this situation), or because they may be one of the 20 % of people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, but don’t really have it, because they were checked in a doctor’s office.

So this is why I am trying this out – what would the management of this condition be like if patients were in charge of the diagnosis, in partnership with a physician? I was fortunate to attend the medical school that has Andrew Weil, MD, on faculty, and I remember him telling us that we should try the therapies that we prescribe to patients (within reason) so they know what they are like. That’s what I’m doing here. Feel free to follow along on Twitter and I’ll post more here on the blog when I’m done.

Conflict of Interest Reminder: As it says on my “About” page, I do not have any financial interest or ties to, and have not received any honoraria from, pharmaceutical or device manufacturers.

Ted Eytan, MD