What if one simple text could lower your blood pressure by 2.2 points?
I know it’s not much, but receiving a text is also not that complicated, right?
This is exactly what researchers at the University of Cape Town and Oxford University did, before publishing their amazing results in the journal Circulation.
The study tested whether medication and clinic appointment reminders via text message increased people’s compliance with their blood pressure treatment and lowered their blood pressure more than just what their prescribed treatments were expected to.
They recruited almost 1,300 participants from the poorer areas of Cape Town and divided them into three groups.
1) The first group received only their blood pressure treatment.
2) The second group received their treatment together with text message reminders to take their medication, attend their scheduled doctor’s appointments, do their exercises, and eat a healthy diet.
3) And the third group received their treatments, the reminders, and the interactive ability to cancel their doctor’s appointments and change the timing of their messages.
Those who received the text messages lost 2.2 mm Hg of systolic blood pressure points more than those who received only their treatments, primarily because a higher number of them took their medication 80 percent or more of the time, 61.2 versus 49.4 percent.
The ability to interact and cancel appointments or messages made little difference.
One of the authors stated that the improvement was approximately the same as what would be expected from one-on-one behavioral counseling, which is considerably more expensive.
Now, I’m not the world’s number one fan of blood pressure medications but I’m fascinated by this study because it can just as well be used to remind us to take natural measures.
One of the problems with our blood pressure exercises, for example, is that people forget to do them.
They’re so simple and easy and only take about 9 minutes or so. And they work for almost everyone who remembers to actually do them.
But, due to our busy schedules, we often forget even the simplest things.
So how about instead of receiving text messages, you just put a reminder in your phone that beeps at the same time every day just to remind you to take 9 minutes out of your day to lower your blood pressure?
Or ask your son or daughter to send you a text daily to ask if you did your exercises?