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Managing Blood Pressure via Apps and Internet could be Dangerous

Update Date: May 17, 2014 11:21 AM EDT

With easy access to medical information via the Internet or smartphone applications, more and more people might start to rely on these outlets of information as opposed to the traditional doctor's office. In two new studies, researchers reported that using the Internet or apps to maintain one's blood pressure could be dangerous for health.

In the first study, the research team examined numerous YouTube videos regarding high blood pressure. The team found that one-third of the videos provided information that was misleading. This type of information included alternative therapies and supplements that have not been proven to help reduce blood pressure.

"It's quite concerning," said lead researcher Dr. Nilay Kumar, a physician with the Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts, reported by Medical Xpress. "The videos that were misleading seemed to get a lot more hits than the videos from authoritative sources."

In the second study, researchers tested the effectiveness of using two kinds of blood pressure devices that can be used at home. The devices connect to an app on people's iPhones that is supposed to help them track their levels and send information to their primary care physicians. The researchers discovered that both of the devices were not as accurate as the device used by doctors. They had conducted a total of 112 readings on one person and found that one device tended to give out readings that were three to five points higher while the other one gave out readings that were five points lower.

The researchers stated that even though these points might not seem like a lot, a low reading could prevent someone from getting the medical help he/she needs. The researchers stated that if people want to learn more about different medical conditions, they should stick to legitimate websites. However, in order to manage high blood pressure, patients should consult their doctors.

Both studies will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hypertension in New York City.

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