Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Robo Calls Actually LOWER Blood Pressure?

Normally your blood pressure shoots up when you answer your phone to hear a campaign ad or sales call for something absurd. But the American Heart Association is now telling us that an automated calling system can help people with hypertension be more aware of the potentially disabling or fatal consequences of their condition.

This, in turn, can help them reduce their blood pressure. Go figure.

223 people at eight primary care clinics near Montreal wore portable monitors that took 24-hour blood pressure readings. About half were connected to a computer-based telephone system that called them at least once a week to get their most recent blood pressure readings. The readings were automatically relayed to their physicians and pharmacists, who took action if the readings indicated a problem.

After a year, the 24-hour blood pressure monitors showed that people in the group who had been called had an average reduction of 11.9 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure and 6.6 mm Hg in diastolic pressure, compared with reductions of 7.1 mm Hg systolic and 4.5 mm Hg diastolic for the control group.

Blood pressure readings measured in doctors' offices showed average reductions of 18.7 mm Hg systolic and 9.1 mm Hg diastolic for the group that had been called and reductions of 13.8 mm Hg and 5.6 mm Hg for the others.

More people in the telephoned group (46 percent) met the U.S. and Canadian definitions for controlled blood pressure -- less than 140/90 mm Hg
-- than in the other group (29 percent).

Swine Flu Lessons

Swine flu. Yes, definitely heard of it. But, what is it, really? Should I be worried, really?

Dr. Charles Ericsson gives this primer -- everything you needed to know -- about the swine flu outbreak.

It turns out that we have come a long way since the last incident. In 1918, a severe flu outbreak killed millions. However, today we have put into place a coordinated effort that is actually quite efficient and impressive.

Here is a look at how we have updated our response system to react and defend against this kind of potential large scale infection ... in order to prevent it from becoming a large scale infection!!

Good news is so seldom reported. That we are managing this contagion is good news indeed.

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