Editor's Picks

Health & Wellness

Tracking your blood pressure can save your life, and you can do it at IUPUI

August 26, 2014

IUPUI students and staff can now check their own blood pressure on campus. New self-monitoring blood pressure machines are located in five locations on IUPUI’s campus: the Ruth Lilly Medical Library, ICTC, Nursing, Lockefield Village and Physical Plant buildings.

Blood pressure test

Testing blood pressure at IUPUI. | PHOTO COURTESY HEALTHY IU

The machine is free to use and can report your blood pressure in a matter of minutes. According to the American Heart Association, optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm HG (systolic pressure is 120 and diastolic pressure is less than 80).

The benefits of having self-check blood pressure machines on campus go beyond simple convenience. A new IU study shows that home blood pressure monitoring saves lives and money by improving diagnosis and treatment.

In the first analysis of its kind, the IU researchers concluded that patients who monitor blood pressure at home can enjoy improved health care and lower costs; their physicians can more accurately diagnose and treat high blood pressure; and health insurance companies can save money by paying for home blood pressure monitoring kits.

With new self-check blood pressure machines available on campus, IUPUI students and staff will be able to do just that -- and it is vitally important. High blood pressure can damage the arteries, heart, brain and kidneys, but it often has no warning signs or symptoms. In order to stay in control of your blood pressure, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend checking it regularly.

Stephen Jay, professor emeritus of health policy and management at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, convened a team of researchers in hopes of uncovering a link between home blood pressure monitoring and lowered health care costs.

“We believed that if we could show insurers that they could achieve a positive return on their investment, they would be convinced to pay for home monitors, and that health care providers would then be more likely to recommend home monitoring to patients.”

Depending on the insurance plan and age group, net savings associated with home blood pressure monitoring ranged from $33 to $166 per member in the first year, and from $415 to $1,364 over 10 years. The results also indicated that home blood pressure monitoring is generally most cost-beneficial when it is used to diagnose high blood pressure in younger individuals and to monitor high blood pressure treatment in older individuals.

“Many people like to know what’s going on with their health,” Jay said. “If you can put tools in their hands that are accurate, affordable and user friendly, you make it easier for people to have ownership of their health, and then good things can happen for the patients, clinicians and insurers. Everyone wins.”

The self-check blood pressure machines located on campus can be your first step to a healthier lifestyle. Visit any of the five locations on campus. The machines are free to use and can report your blood pressure in a matter of minutes.

Test your blood pressure IQ with this quiz.

Read more Health & Wellness stories »