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What is blood pressure and how can I measure it?

Your blood pressure is constantly changing. It fluctuates every time the heart beats, and exertion or excitement can affect it too. So it is never that simple to get a correct measurement.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: October 25, 2013

Pulmonary artery catheters for directing management in condition associated with high blood pressure during pregnancy

Pre‐eclampsia (a condition associated with high blood pressure during pregnancy) or toxaemia affects a significant number of pregnancies and is a major cause of serious illness and even death of mothers and babies during pregnancy and shortly after. Pre‐eclampsia can cause decreased blood flow to the kidneys resulting in kidney failure and fluid accumulation in the lungs and other organs. Managing fluid shifts is, thus, crucial to preventing and managing such complications. The pulmonary artery catheter is one method of monitoring fluid status. The pulmonary artery catheter is a special device placed inside of the pulmonary artery for  measurement of pressures in the different parts of heart, which helps to monitor the fluid balance in the body. Although it seem to be the most reliable method for monitoring of fluid shifts, the placement of pulmonary artery catheters may be associated with the highest risk of complications. No randomised trials involving pulmonary artery catheterisation were found and, thus, there is no robust data to support or disregard the use of this intervention. The complexity of this procedure and the skills needed to perform it may have affected the lack of randomised trials. Nevertheless, fluid management is still an important issue in managing and preventing kidney failure and accumulation of fluid in the lungs and other organs in the context of pre‐eclampsia and pulmonary artery catheterisation is a potential technique for this. We think that further research, especially randomised trials, is needed.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Ambulatory versus conventional methods for monitoring blood pressure during pregnancy

Not enough evidence to show whether wearing a blood pressure monitoring device for 24 hours during pregnancy is better at detecting hypertension than clinic tests.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Measuring Your Blood Pressure at Home: A Review of the Research for Adults

This summary will help you learn about measuring your blood pressure at home. It is created to help you and your doctor decide if checking your blood pressure at home is a good idea for you. This summary will also tell you about the research on blood pressure monitors and will give you questions to ask your doctor.

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: February 22, 2012

Inhaled nitric oxide to treat high blood pressure of the pulmonary vessels after surgery in infants and children with congenital heart disease

We reviewed the evidence on the effectiveness of inhaled nitric oxide for treatment of high blood pressure in the pulmonary vessels in infants and children born with heart disease.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

For a person with a head injury who is in a coma, are there benefits to regularly monitoring the pressure inside the skull?

The brain is situated in a rigid box (the skull) that cannot expand, so normal swelling from injury cannot occur. When brain swelling does occur, pressure inside the skull rises. This makes it harder for the heart to pump the oxygen‐rich blood into the brain needed for recovery. If treating physicians cannot control swelling, the lack of blood supply to the swollen brain can cause further brain damage. Efforts to avoid this damage can include regular monitoring of the pressure inside the skull (intracranial). There are different ways to monitor pressure. One commonly used method is to insert a small probe into the skull. But whenever something is put into the skull, there is a chance it may cause bleeding or an infection.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

Type 2 diabetes: Does self-monitoring blood sugar have an advantage for people who do not take insulin?

Some people with type 2 diabetes measure their own blood sugar levels regularly, even though they do not take insulin. It is not clear whether self-monitoring blood sugar really helps to prevent diabetes-related illnesses.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: June 4, 2014

Type 2 diabetes: Measuring sugar levels in blood and urine yourself

Many people with diabetes mellitus measure their blood sugar levels themselves. For those who inject insulin several times a day, checking their sugar levels with a blood glucose meter is an important part of their daily treatment.The amount of insulin injected at mealtimes depends on various factors, including the measured blood sugar (glucose) level. Sugar levels in blood or urine can be measured in various ways.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: October 23, 2013

Can measurements show if a treatment works?

Measurements like blood pressure or cholesterol level play an important role in medicine. But can they predict how a treatment can affect important results like heart attacks or broken bones?

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: October 27, 2013

High cholesterol: Prevention: Are regular health check-ups worthwhile?

Lots of people go for regular check-ups when they feel the need to do something about their health. But their benefits should not be overestimated. So far studies have not proven that regular health check-ups can protect healthy people from illness or increase their life expectancy.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: 2006

Testing Treatments: Better Research for Better Healthcare. 2nd edition

How do we know whether a particular treatment really works? How reliable is the evidence? And how do we ensure that research into medical treatments best meets the needs of patients? These are just a few of the questions addressed in a lively and informative way in Testing Treatments. Brimming with vivid examples, Testing Treatments will inspire both patients and professionals.

Pinter & Martin.

Version: 2011
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Entropy or EEG‐based depth of anaesthesia monitoring for adults and children undergoing general anaesthesia

We wanted to assess if giving anaesthetic medicines according to the values shown in the entropy monitor would help in avoiding overdosing or underdosing of patients with these drugs.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

What kinds of eye examinations are there?

Eye examinations may be necessary for various reasons, for instance due to external eye injuries or sudden vision problems. Vision also tends to get worse with age, so many people end up going to see an eye doctor at some point.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: April 20, 2016

Individual patient education for people with type 2 diabetes mellitus

Nine studies involving 1359 participants met the inclusion criteria. Six studies compared individual education to usual care and three compared individual education to group education (361 participants). There were no long‐term studies and overall the quality of the studies was not high. Individual face‐to‐face patient education for type 2 diabetes over a six to twelve month period did not significantly improve glycaemic control, body mass index (BMI ‐ measure of overweight; body weight in kilogram divided through squared height in meters, kg/m2), blood pressure or total cholesterol in the short or medium term compared with usual care. However, there did appear to be a significant benefit of individual education on glycaemic control in a subgroup analysis of studies involving participants with a higher baseline HbA1c greater than 8% (that is, too high blood sugar levels over a couple of months or inadequate 'metabolic control'). In the studies comparing individual education to group education, there was no significant difference between individual or group education at 12 to 18 months nor a significant difference in the impact of individual education versus group education on BMI, systolic or diastolic blood pressure.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Etomidate for sedating critically ill people during emergency endotracheal intubation

People who are critically ill often need help breathing. One way to do this is called endotracheal intubation. This involves placing a tube into the windpipe (trachea) and having a ventilator (breathing machine) help the patient breathe.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

The effect of using pharmacists to provide services other than medicine dispensing in low‐ and middle‐income countries

Researchers in The Cochrane Collaboration conducted a review to evaluate the effect of using pharmacists to provide services other than medicine dispensing in low‐ and middle‐income countries. After searching for all relevant studies, they found 12 studies that met their requirements. Their findings are summarised below.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Carotid endarterectomy for symptomatic carotid stenosis

Strokes cause long‐term disability and death. The chances of dying are much higher with subsequent strokes, which often occur within one year of the first attack. Strokes are often associated with blockages and severe narrowing in the internal carotid and other large blood vessels carrying oxygenated blood from the heart to the brain. Surgical removal of the fatty deposits and blood clots from inside the carotid artery wall may reduce the risk of stroke but carries a risk of peri‐operative complications including disabling stroke and death. This review identified three randomised controlled trials, which included over 6000 patients who were mostly elderly, predominantly male, had a recent non‐disabling stroke or transient ischaemic attack and had confirmed narrowing of the appropriate carotid artery. Many of the participants had heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Increased degree of narrowing, advanced age, male sex and recent transient ischaemic attack or stroke were associated with increasing benefit from surgery. Patients with lesser degrees of narrowing were harmed.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2011

Routine or selective carotid artery shunting for carotid endarterectomy (and different methods of monitoring in selective shunting)

We wanted to compare the effect of routine shunting versus selective or no shunting during carotid endarterectomy, and to assess the effect of different methods for selection of people for shunting.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Do workplace pedometer interventions increase physical activity?

The World Health Organization recommends that most people should undertake at least 30 minutes of moderate‐intensity physical activity on most days, as it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers. However, less than 40% of the world’s population are undertaking adequate amounts of physical activity and rates have been declining. Here we assess whether pedometer workplace interventions increase physical activity and thereby lead to subsequent health benefits.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Mobile phone messaging for facilitating self‐management of long‐term illnesses

Many people suffer from long‐term conditions such as asthma or diabetes. To make living with the long‐term illnesses as easy as possible, people have to regularly monitor the symptoms of their conditions and adapt their lifestyles. This review studied whether mobile phone applications such as Short Message Service (SMS) (also known as text messaging) and Multimedia Message Service (MMS) can support people to better manage their long‐term illnesses by sending medication reminders or supportive messages, or by offering a way for people to communicate important information to their healthcare providers and receive feedback.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

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