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Monitoring one's own blood pressure lowers heart disease risk: doctor

2012/05/09 17:02:57

Taipei, May 9 (CNA) A doctor on Wednesday urged people suffering from hypertension to check their blood pressure regularly to prevent the onset of heart disease, especially with cardiovascular disease becoming more prevalent across Taiwan.

"People should use blood pressure monitors as often as they use cell phones," Chou Nai-kuan, a surgeon at National Taiwan University Hospital, said at a press conference held to promote self-monitoring.

"A lot of people own such devices at home. But it's always made me wonder why they don't use the devices as often as they should," Chou said.

He recommended that people take their blood pressure before meals and whenever they feel uncomfortable.

"Remember that blood pressure readings can tell stories," he said, explaining that they can reflect an individual's health condition and tell a physician the patient's chances of developing cardiovascular diseases.

"It doesn't matter which kind of blood pressure monitor you buy, the important thing is you take measurements as frequently as possible," he said.

According to the latest statistics from the Department of Health, 25,809 people died in Taiwan from heart disease and cerebrovascular diseases in 2010. The number of reported acute myocardial infarctions more than doubled between 1996 and 2009.

Prices of home blood pressure monitoring devices range from about NT$600 (US$19) to NT$8,000, said Steve Chang, chief technology officer of Ostar Meditech Corp.

Chang explained that more expensive models can be connected to computers and help users measure, track and share readings with doctors.

(By Nancy Liu)