The British happier to change lifestyle to combat high blood pressure than Japanese, but less than Americans

. A higher proportion of people affected by high blood pressure from Germany and Spain are taking proactive steps to deal with their condition than the UK. While in the first two countries 78% and 72% of the hypertensive population are more likely to self-manage and change their behavior in response to their condition, in UK only 69% of people living with high blood pressure are willing to do so. People with hypertension in Italy and France, however, were the least likely to change their lifestyles to combat higher blood pressure (67% and 59% of the hypertensive population, respectively).

The results of a study into the motivations driving people’s attitudes towards blood pressure monitoring, commissioned by OMRON Healthcare and carried out by Kantar, also unearthed major differences in how populations from different continents respond to high blood pressure. 71% of Europeans[2] affected by hypertension are more health-conscious than their Japanese counterparts, where this percentage drops to 65%. However, in the US 76% of those affected by hypertension are highly health conscious.

However, while people are focused on their health, they still need to take more time for their hearts developing healthy habits if they want to prevent the onset of severe hypertension: the study shows that only 19% of the people who have been diagnosed with hypertension in Europe are taking blood pressure measurements every month, 26% are doing so weekly and only 11% do it on a daily basis. Regular home monitoring brings benefits – it is often a more relaxed than in the doctor’s office, it improves engagement in the treatment and assesses day-to-day blood pressure variability[3] to help avoid white-coat effect (your blood pressure is higher when it is taken in a medical setting than it is when taken at home)[4].

Positive impact on mental well-being

One of the most significant findings from the research is that those with the most serious diagnosis who at the same time pursue a healthy lifestyle experience better mental QoL (A parameter that takes into account several factors such as vitality, social functioning, role emotional and mental health) than younger, healthier people. This suggests that measuring one’s own blood pressure regularly can not only have a potential physical benefit, but also may contribute to mental wellbeing. The mental QoL score of those severely affected and highly health-conscious (53% of whom are older than 65) amounts to 48.7, whereas those who are younger and less affected (51% of them are between 18-49) have a mental QoL of 42.3. The group that is diagnosed with more serious hypertension and health conscious, score even higher than the general population, which only scores 46.6 for mental QoL[5]. This makes a compelling case for taking regular blood pressure measurements, being diagnosed early and taking steps to improve your own cardiovascular health.

According to Lucía Prada, Marketing Director of OMRON Healthcare Europe, these findings “confirm our belief that by equipping the public with home-use or on-the-go clinically validated blood pressure monitors, we are helping people to be in control of their own condition. Not only can they take early steps to lead healthier and more active lives, but also reduce the degree of uncertainty related to their conditions, all of which has a positive impact on their overall well-being”.

OMRON Healthcare supports May Measurement Month

The study coincides with World Hypertension Day in the context of the third annual May Measurement Month, the largest global synchronised public blood pressure screening programme ever[6] that takes place each year throughout the month of May. In the last two years, MMM volunteers across over 100 countries have taken blood pressure readings from 2.7 million people, identifying over half a million people with uncontrolled hypertension. OMRON Healthcare has donated 20,000 clinically-validated digital blood pressure monitors to the cause to help raise global awareness of high blood pressure.

“People live increasingly busier lives and it can be easy to forget to put your heart health first at times. As the number one contributing risk factor for global death, there should be no greater priority than monitoring your blood pressure and May Measurement Month is an excellent opportunity to start doing so. For this reason, at OMRON we continue to bring to life devices which fit seamlessly in people’s daily lives and simplify their blood pressure monitoring routines. By taking time each day to do this, people can reduce the impact Hypertension has on their lives”, highlighted André Van Gils, CEO and President of OMRON Healthcare Europe.