High blood pressure has proven to be one of the leading causes of heart disease, as well as stroke. The condition affects approximately 75 million people only in the US, which means 1 in 3 adults is diagnosed with hypertension. About 18% of those people are not aware of their condition and almost 50% fail to keep their blood pressure values in check.
By monitoring the blood pressure values, one can identify deviations from the norm and attempt lifestyle changes that lead to health improvement (R). Moreover, the self-monitoring process can help one understand the risk of high blood pressure and offer adequate motivation to seek out treatment.
Keeping track of your blood pressure
Whether you suffer from hypertension or you are just worried about your blood pressure values, you can rely on CareClinic’s health app to keep track of such health measurements. You can use the app as an effective high blood pressure log, recording additional information about your health as well.
CareClinic is a free tool that you can use to monitor your blood pressure, which should ideally be below 120/80 mmHg. With regard to the additional information that you can enter, this can include your current weight, level of physical activity, nutrition and pre-existent health conditions (diabetes, chronic kidney disease, etc.).
Apart from logging the blood pressure values, you can mention the location of the cuff and your body posture. You can trust the application to keep track of other risk factors, such as heart rate, weight (obesity), glucose level, sodium intake and oxygen saturation (R). If wanted, you can define ranges for the low and high blood pressure, so that you always know where you stand, as well as calculate the mean arterial pressure.
The values registered and shown in the blood pressure log sheet will show you if there are spikes to worry about, and what were the potential triggers (pre-existent conditions, stress, heat etc.). Even though it is normal for the blood pressure values to fluctuate during the day, the oscillating values over an extended period of time can be a sign of heart disease.
Monitoring the level of physical activity
Regular physical activity can lower the values of your blood pressure, as opposed to living a sedentary lifestyle which is a contributing factor to hypertension. You can use CareClinic’s health to record your physical activity level and see your values before and after different workouts. As a general fact, you might want to know that regular exercise – even walking around for half an hour – can lower the blood pressure values with 4-9 mmHg (R).
Easy and effective weight tracking
By recording your weight values on a regular basis, you will be more motivated to lose excess weight and adopt healthy lifestyle changes (for example, consume less salt or sugar, cut back on alcohol). You can even use the application to set up weight loss goals and track your progress, celebrating each success with a small reward (not in the form of food).
Analyzing sleeping quality & Frequency
In order to maintain the best possible state of health, each individual should sleep between 7-8 hours per night. Sleep deprivation is often associated with higher blood pressure values, affecting both physical and mental health. With CareClinic, you can see blood pressure charts and also monitor your sleep patterns, discovering a connection between the two of them.
Giving up bad habits – smoking, drinking alcohol
Even though smoking is not considered a direct cause of high blood pressure, it is a major risk factor. Smoking and hypertension have a thing in common, meaning that they both cause the arteries to narrow, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. The same goes for alcohol abuse, which can damage not only blood vessels but also major organs.
The health app developed by CareClinic can be used as more than a BP log for patients, you can trust it to record your smoking and alcohol intake. As you will identify a connection between blood pressure spikes and unhealthy habits, you will be more easily motivated to give up smoking and cut back on your alcohol consumption (R).
Health reports to share with your doctor
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for both acute and chronic conditions. Applications such as CareClinic allow you to keep track of blood pressure values and other symptoms associated with hypertension.
At the end of each month, a report is generated; this is based on all of the information you have entered into the application and it can be easily shared with your treating physician. The printable blood pressure will definitely be of help for your doctor.
You can show your blood pressure values over a specific period of time to your doctor and decide on the most suitable lifestyle changes to make, as well as adjust the medication and try additional therapies. If your blood pressure is at the value of 120/80 mmHg or below, you will not be recommended to make any changes.
For those who have values between 120-139/80-89 mmHg, you are in a status known as “pre-hypertension” and you might have to pay more attention to your diet, physical activity and stress levels. As for the values between 140-159/90-99 mmHg, this is hypertension and lifestyle changes are definitely required (medication might be prescribed if the blood pressure values do not go back to normal in a month). Blood pressure values over 160/100 mmHg are addressed through medication.
How to measure your blood pressure correctly
First and foremost, you should know that it is recommended to measure your blood pressure twice per day. The initial measurement can be made in the morning and you can repeat the reading in the afternoon or even in the evening. What matters is that you take your blood pressure approximately at the same time every day.
Regardless of the device, you are using, the best results are yielded when you assume a comfortable position, with your back supported and both feet on the floor. The arm on which you measure the blood pressure should rest on a table and the cuff should not be higher than the position of your heat. Avoid distractions and refrain from talking or moving, as this can influence your values.
It is also advisable to measure your blood pressure before taking our treatment and at least two hours after eating. If you have had coffee or smoked, you should wait for at least one hour; also, the blood pressure should be measured after going to the toilet and not before. In case of physical effort, you are advised to wait half an hour.
Reminders to check your blood pressure values
Use CareClinic’s health app as a blood pressure tracker, adding the morning and evening values for each entry, as well as the time and additional comments. Make sure that you record both the systolic and diastolic values. If you are the forgetful kind or you have a lot on your mind, you can set up reminders to check your blood pressure on a regular basis.
These reminders can actually be used for more than this purpose. You can set up a reminder to take your blood pressure medication, entering the required dates (frequency) and dose. You can also organize reminders for doctors appointments so that you can adhere to the treatment and avoid blood pressure spikes.
What are the risks of high blood pressure?
High blood pressure can cause damage to the blood vessels and, subsequently, to the organs these supply blood to. If left untreated, one presents a high risk of heart attack, stroke or aneurysm. Heart failure and kidney disease represent two other major risks, as well as the loss of vision and cognitive impairment.
Management of high blood pressure
Apart from the specific medication prescribed for hypertension, one can keep the blood pressure under control through lifestyle changes. One must follow a healthy diet and lose excess weight, be physically activate, manage stress effectively and give up both smoking and alcohol.
If stress and/or anxiety are behind your high blood pressure, you might want to try guided meditation or mindfulness. Record such alternative treatments in your CareClinic profile and give them a try, in order to obtain the necessary relief and feel better overall.
You might also want to try yoga, especially if you have trouble sleeping. Breathing exercises are recommended to those who feel stressed, angry or pressured. These will teach one to slow down, feeling calm and relaxed at the same time. Taking deep breaths can certainly help, as research has even confirmed that this technique (deep breathing) can reduce systolic pressure.
There is a clear link between chronic stress and high blood pressure. Thanks to this health app, you can record your blood pressure values in stressful situations and see the factors contributing to the problem. However, you should do your best to manage your stress levels, so as to avoid blood pressure spikes and the subsequent risks (R).
The Application should not substitute professional medical advice
The CareClinic health app has a lot of useful features, starting with the monthly blood sugar log and the ability to record blood pressure values on a regular basis. It can help people easily make a connection between their pre-existent conditions – such as diabetes – and hypertension.
However, the health app should not substitute professional medical advice or be used for diagnosis in any way. In the situation you have any concerns with regard to your blood pressure values, you should consult your doctor. Do not attempt to adjust the medication yourself, as you might suffer from blood pressure fluctuations and the associated risks.
What the application does is that it allows you to see the blood pressure values over a period of time (thanks to the daily recordings of your measurements). The BP table gives an overview of the moments when the blood pressure spiked so that you can identify potential triggers and risk factors.
Self-monitoring of blood pressure is encouraged by healthcare professionals
People who suffer from chronic hypertension are advised to use “my BP card”, which is a card to be kept in the wallet. On this card, you can write some of your blood pressure readings recorded in the CareClinic health app and keep it with you all the time.
Research has confirmed that self-monitoring is a useful practice, making people more aware of their blood pressure values and increasing awareness with regard to the necessary lifestyle changes. The best control is obtained when health apps, such as CareClinic, are used in conjunction with medication and lifestyle changes.
To start logging your BP and manage your health over time, sign up to CareClinic by clicking here.