News Tuesday October 25, 2011

E-counselling useful tool to help lower blood pressure, study shows

A new study from Canada has shown that patients who receive e-counselling are more likely to show a significant decrease in blood pressure than those who do not.

The study, which involved 387 people between the ages of 45 and 74, took place over four months. Each participant had received a high blood pressure diagnosis, and 72% of them were regularly taking at least one type of blood pressure medication. The aim of the study was to find out what effect, if any, e-counselling had on blood pressure control, and whether quality of life and survival rates showed signs of improvement.

The team leading the research, from the University Health Network at the University of Western Ontario and the Ontario Public Health unit in Grey Bruce, Ontario, were evaluating an existing e-counselling program called Heart&Stroke Health eSupport run by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. One of the researchers, Dr. Robert Nolan, called e-counselling “the way of the future.”

The participants were divided into two groups as part of the study, with one group receiving just a normal e-newsletter from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, which contained general information and tips about heart health. The second group also received eight emails over the course of the study, which included motivational messages in addition to educational information. These emails were tailored towards information gathered in surveys by the participants before the first emails were sent. The participants in the second group were shown to have decreased their blood pressure by almost double the amount in comparison to those who had only received the standard newsletter.

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