OMRON Healthcare, a global medical equipment company had published a study to coincide with World Hypertension Day today (17 May), to reveal the attitudes of individuals towards blood pressure monitoring. The study was conducted in collaboration with Kantar Health, in which 62,000 individuals from the UK, Italy, France, Germany, and Spain were surveyed. 

Results showed that Germany and Spain have the highest proportion of people affected by high blood pressure who take a more proactive step towards managing their conditions. Up to 78% of the respondents from Germany and 72% of the respondents from Spain, expressed they are more likely to adjust their behavior to adapt to their medical condition. While only 69% of the UK respondents are willing to do so. Hypertension patients from Italy and France, on the other hand, voiced the least willingness to change their lifestyles. 

The failure to monitor blood pressure condition at home 

Furthermore, the study also showed that 19% of the hypertension patients in Europe are taking blood pressure measurements on a monthly basis, 26% are doing so every week and only 11% do it every day. The study noted the importance of monitoring blood pressure at home: to assess day-to-day blood pressure change and help to avoid white-coat effect or the tendency to yield a higher blood pressure reading in a medical setting as compared to home. 

As André Van Gils, Chief Executive Officer and President of OMRON Healthcare Europe said in the press release, “people live increasingly busier lives and it can be easy to forget to put your heart health at first at times. As the number one contributing risk factor for global death, there should be no greater priority than monitoring your blood pressure…” 

The purpose of the study is to find out the motivations behind people’s attitudes towards blood pressure monitoring. The study results were released a week after the British Heart Foundation (BHF)’s latest report on the rise of deaths from heart and circulatory diseases among people below the age of 75 in the UK, for the first time in 50 years. Hypertension has been a major risk factor for heart and circulatory diseases. 

How AI is changing the landscape? 

The major difference comes in the use of wearables to monitor one’s blood pressure and notify individuals when abnormalities occur. Patients will no longer have to consciously remember to have their blood pressure taken at home or in the clinic. 

In fact, three months ago, OMRON Health had announced the integration of its FDA (the US Food and Drug Administration) cleared device – HeartGuide, into pinpointIQ, a monitoring platform developed by physIQ, to check on at-risk patients in outpatient settings. The artificial intelligence (AI) driven HeartGuide allows users to have a real-time insight into their blood pressure, activity, and sleep. The dashboard also enables users to have an overview of the trend and history of their activities and health conditions. 

Recently, a group of researchers from the University of California, San Diego, are prioritizing on wearable data to generate machine learning algorithm that can predict blood pressure and to provide personalized recommendations to lower it when needed. Researchers highlighted bed time as a factor affecting one patient’s blood pressure and sedentary lifestyle for another patient. This affirms the importance of personalization in blood pressure monitoring and how AI can be in the position to endorse that. 

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Hazel Tang

A science writer with data background and an interest in the current affair, culture, and arts; a no-med from an (almost) all-med family. Follow on Twitter.