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Blood pressure lowered by educational group sessions

United they stand, divided they fall. It’s a cliched expression that has nonetheless done wonders for countless groups of varying persuasions time and again.

In the case of people with chronic illnesses, it’s usually logical to refer them to educational groups of patients with similar problems. A new study by researchers at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center in North Carolina revealed that veterans with diabetes and both uncontrolled blood sugar and high blood pressure can benefit from such group sessions.

A new study of veterans with diabetes who had both uncontrolled blood sugar and high blood pressure found that patients who attended group sessions did better on blood pressure than people who got only the usual care from theirprimary care doctors. The study, however, noted no difference in blood sugar management.

In this research, the study team randomly assigned 239 patients to either usual care with their physicians or the addition of group sessions about diabetes and hypertension every other month for a year. After 12 months, the study participants who attended group sessions had lowered their blood pressure readings by an average 13.7 points, compared to the 6.4 points among those who only saw their primary care doctors. The results showed similar blood sugar levels between the two groups.

In qualifying the limitations of their study, the researchers can not exactly pinpoint which part of the group visits were effective, including the possibility that the extraattention in the groups caused the different outcomes rather than the content of the visits. It’s also worth noting that most of the participants were men, so the results may not apply to women.

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