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Frequent Doctor Visits Benefit Hypertensive Diabetes Patients

Those with shorter intervals between visits achieve normal blood pressure more rapidly

MONDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- In hypertensive patients with diabetes, shorter intervals between encounters with physicians are associated with a faster decrease in blood pressure and earlier blood pressure normalization -- particularly intervals shorter than those currently recommended, according to a study published online May 24 in Hypertension.

Alexander Turchin, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues performed a retrospective cohort study of 5,042 patients who were treated at primary care practices affiliated with two academic hospitals between 2000 and 2005.

The researchers found that patients with an average interval between encounters of one month or less achieved blood pressure normalization after a median of 1.5 months at the rate of 28.7 mm Hg/month, while those with an average interval of more than one month achieved normalization after a median of 12.2 months at the rate of 2.6 mm Hg/month. They also found that an average encounter interval of two weeks or less was associated with a faster median time to normalization than an interval between two weeks and one month (0.7 versus 1.9 months).

"Based on our findings, optimal encounter intervals may be shorter than what is currently recommended," the authors conclude. "Interventional studies are now needed to confirm the direction of causality in these findings and to provide evidence-based guidance for choosing encounter intervals for the thousands of primary care physicians who care for these patients."

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