Frequent doctor visits can help diabetics control BP more quickly

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Washington, May 25 (ANI): Visiting the doctor frequently could help diabetics lower their high blood pressure to normal quickly, according to a new study.

The study has been published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The impact of doctor visit frequency on managing high blood pressure is unknown.

Current guidelines from the Seventh report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure recommend that patients with high blood pressure be reevaluated within one month.

However, intervals between doctor visits are often longer, which could pose challenges for treating high blood pressure, said Alexander Turchin, M.D., M.S., lead author of the study, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of Informatics Research at the Division of Endocrinology at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass.

Turchin and his team examined the relationship between visiting a primary care physician and the effect on patients' blood pressure. The study included 5,042 diabetics with high blood pressure; the majority were women (average age 65). The patients were followed between January 2000 and August 2005. During the study, their blood pressure was above the recommended levels more than 60 percent of the time.

Researchers found patients who visited their primary care physicians at intervals of one month or less saw their blood pressure decline to normal after an average 1.5 months at a rate of 28.7 mm Hg/month. Patients who waited more than a month to visit the doctor had their blood pressure to normal after 12.2 months at a rate of 2.6 mm Hg/month.

They also found that patients who visited their primary care physicians every two weeks or less experienced the greatest benefits. The average time for their blood pressure to reach normal levels was 0.7 months when physician visits were less than or equal to two weeks apart compared with 1.9 months when visits were two weeks to one month apart.

Longer periods between physician visits were associated with decreased rates of change in blood pressure. When visiting the doctor every one to two weeks, the rates of decrease for systolic and diastolic blood pressure were 43.8 and 13.1 mm Hg/month, respectively. Visits every six months resulted in rates of 0.9 (systolic) and 0.4 mm Hg/month (diastolic), the boffins found. (ANI)

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