Woman taking blood pressure at home

Many older adults who need to keep their blood pressure under control are not checking it at home or in other places outside the healthcare system. That is a finding of the recently released National Poll on Healthy Aging, which is based at the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

While more than half of adults between the ages of 50 and 80 have a health condition that requires regular monitoring of their blood pressure, less than half of people in this group do so on their own, the poll found. Even among those with such health conditions who said their providers encouraged them to check their blood pressure regularly, only about two-thirds actually did.

“For people with these chronic health conditions, having uncontrolled high blood pressure can substantially increase the risk of death, stroke, heart attack, diabetes complications and kidney failure. That’s why national guidelines call for them to check their blood pressures regularly,” said Deborah Levine, M.D., M.P.H., a U-M blood pressure researcher.

In all, 74% of the older adults with blood pressure-related conditions said they had a home blood pressure monitor. Those who owned a blood pressure monitor were much more likely to measure their blood pressure at home than those who did not own a monitor, the survey found.