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24-hour blood pressure device now subsidised by Medicare

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A new Medicare rebate to better diagnose high blood pressure will come into effect at the start of next month.

It will cover the cost of using a wearable device to monitor blood pressure at home over 24 hours.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the listing is expected to benefit more than 400,000 Australians in the first year.

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A new Medicare rebate to better diagnose high blood pressure will come into effect at the start of next month.

"This is a significant development in hypertension awareness and care in Australia," Mr Hunt said.

The monitoring devices, which are supplied by GPs and cardiology clinics, will only be used to detect high blood pressure.

The listing will save a patient over $90 for each test, which is considered the gold standard in diagnosis.

A new Medicare rebate to better diagnose high blood pressure will come into effect at the start of next month.

On-the-spot blood pressure readings at GP clinics can fluctuate and patient anxiety can drive blood pressure up.

"Rather than just getting a snapshot picture of blood pressure at one point in time, I actually see what's happening with your blood pressure during the day and night," Dr Charlotte Hespe, from the Royal Australian College of GPs, said.

"We're really excited about this rebate, we've been campaigning for a very long time."

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A new Medicare rebate to better diagnose high blood pressure will come into effect at the start of next month.

Also welcoming the move is the High Blood Pressure Research Council, which submitted the application for funding.

"It's a big win for the patients out there, a third suffer from elevated blood pressure," Professor Markus Schlaich, President of the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia, said.

He said treating high blood pressure will help save lives.

"(It will) reduce the risk of strokes, heart attacks, heart failure and kidney failure," he said.

The Heart Foundation says often people have no symptoms, which is why screening is important.

"The worrying thing is that many of these people may not even know they have high blood pressure," Natalie Raffoul, Heart Foundation Risk Reduction Manager, said.

Knowing your risk will help guide patients to make lifestyle changes such as reducing salt intake and doing more exercise, before being prescribed medication.

"It's the first and most important way to manage high blood pressure," Ms Raffoul said.

"For the majority of people, having a blood pressure less than 140 over 90 will help protect their heart."



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