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Coronavirus: blood pressure measurement should be done at home
The number of people infected with the new type of corona virus continues to increase. According to experts, more than 80 percent of those infected have mild courses, but especially people from risk groups often get seriously ill. This risk is also present in people with high blood pressure. Due to the risk of infection, you should now check your blood pressure levels at home.
High blood pressure patients should take special care in times of corona that their blood pressure is well adjusted. It is important in this context to check your blood pressure regularly. But blood pressure measurement should now be done at home.
Limit interpersonal contacts
As the German Hypertension League writes in a current announcement, the current situation makes it necessary to limit interpersonal contacts to a minimum. This also applies to routine blood pressure measurements in the doctor's office or pharmacy.
In view of the possible risk of infection, the German Hypertension League now advises an effective and simple procedure: controlled self-measurement with documentation in the blood pressure diary and transmission of the values to the doctor.
The high pressure league provides corresponding validated forms on its website. Even necessary therapy adjustments can then be made without a visit to the doctor. This reduces the risk of infection.
For self-protection and for the protection of others
The SARS-CoV2 coronavirus is rampant and politicians have already made drastic recommendations to curb the pandemic. Older people in particular are at risk from a viral infection, who often also suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension).
To protect yourself and others, it is therefore important to reduce social contacts to the bare minimum. This includes - as absurd as it sounds - regular visits to the doctor, for example to check the blood pressure setting. These can also take place without direct contact with the doctor and without visiting the practice.
The high-pressure league has drawn up a special protocol for this: Patients should measure blood pressure for one week a month, no more, but no less. During the measurement week, the blood pressure should be measured both in the morning and in the evening and entered in the blood pressure diary.
The high pressure league offers a special documentation sheet on its website. After three months, the values can be sent to the doctor or presented during a visit to the practice.
The doctor checks the course and reports by phone or video consultation if a dose adjustment or therapy change is necessary. In principle, apps could also be used for data acquisition - but it is important that the measurement protocol is adhered to.
Self-measurement often gives more meaningful values
"This simple and effective method for blood pressure monitoring has been medically validated in studies and, in the current situation, helps to carry out blood pressure monitoring with fewer visits to the practice - and thus reduces the risk of coronavirus infection," says Professor Florian Limbourg, Hanover, board member the German High Pressure League DHL®.
"Even if the personal doctor-patient discussion is otherwise important: The situation requires special measures and we have to ask our patients to keep routine doctor contacts to a minimum."
In fact, much of what is now recommended is a medical gold standard for monitoring blood pressure anyway. The self-measurement plays a central role because it often gives more meaningful values than the measurement in the doctor's office.
When blood pressure is measured in practice, the values are often higher than when the patient checks it himself at home. This can be due to the nervousness that many people experience when they see a doctor.
This allusion to the white doctor's coat is also referred to as the "white coat effect". However, it also happens that the practice blood pressure is below the actual values. This effect is also called "masked hypertension".
Doctor-patient conversation by phone or video consultation
Without regular self-measurement, the high values remain undetected and untreated, which is dangerous. "It is therefore important that those affected measure their blood pressure at home every day, and we are calling for this anyway, even without a corona crisis, to document the values and present them to the doctor," explains Professor Markus van der Giet, Charité Berlin, board member of the German Hypertension League DHL®.
The quality of blood pressure monitoring is in no way reduced by the corona crisis. “We have put a simple guide to the right blood pressure measurement online on our website. If you adhere to it, the values are recorded correctly, ”explains the expert.
The doctor-patient consultation could then take place by telephone or video consultation if a change in treatment seemed necessary.
"The German General Practitioners' Association has already informed all of its colleagues that the previous limitation on video consultation hours will be lifted from the second quarter," said Prof. Dr. med. Ulrich Wenzel, Hamburg, CEO of the German High Pressure League DHL®.
"Routine visits to the doctor can therefore be moved online and we would like to appeal to the motto" best medical surveillance while avoiding all risks ". (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- German high pressure league: Coronavirus: Blood pressure patients should now check their blood pressure values at home !, (accessed: March 24, 2020), German high pressure league