How to Track & Manage Your Blood Pressure with Self Care Apps

High blood pressure is present in millions of adults over the world, this health problem being associated with an increased risk of death (as a result of heart attack or stroke). Unfortunately, this condition rarely causes symptoms and it is often diagnosed by mistake. It can be managed and kept under control with the right countermeasures and treatment.

Middle-aged individuals are recommended to check their blood pressure on a regular basis, so as to avoid the associated life-threatening complications. High blood pressure forces the heart to work harder than it is necessary, not to mention it increases the risk of kidney failure. For this reason, medication adherence is essential.

CareClinic, a health app to manage your blood pressure effectively

If you have just found out that you have high blood pressure, it is only normal to feel a little bit confused. What matters is that you stay organized and on top of your treatment, relying on CareClinic’s health app for such purposes. As you will discover on your own, this application has a multitude of beneficial features and it can be used to keep potential complications at a safe distance.

Within the application, you can document your daily blood pressure values and notice potential triggers leading to hypertension. It is important to remember that oscillating blood pressure is just as dangerous as the one that is permanently elevated. Through self-monitoring, you can notice blood pressure spikes and adjust your medication accordingly (or work to eliminate various contributing factors).

Why should you monitor your blood pressure levels?

Hypertension is a common occurrence, being one of the top chronic conditions affecting people worldwide. In Germany alone, it is estimated that there are between 20 and 30 million people who suffer from this condition. In Austria, another developed country, there are 2-3 million people with known high blood pressure.

Even though this condition is not treated as a serious affliction, one should remember of the severe complications that can occur. Left untreated, high blood pressure can lead – as mentioned – to heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. However, when the necessary treatment and lifestyle changes are pursued, the blood pressure values can be reduced and successfully kept under control. Monitoring one’s blood pressure is key to staying healthy and avoiding complications.

The effect of antihypertensive medication is not felt immediately, so medication adherence on a long-term basis is essential. With the help of CareClinic’s health app, you can ensure the regular intake of medication and document your blood pressure values at the same time. The application is especially useful for documenting blood pressure spikes and associated triggers (stress, smoking, etc.). (R)

The pill reminder feature ensures the necessary medication adherence

If you have a complex treatment to follow, you can rely on the pill reminder feature to take your medication on time. Reminders can be set up for the whole treatment or each drug in particular. The alerts can be sent via SMS, e-mail or directly within the application, through push notifications.

In the situation that you do not confirm taking the actual medication, you will be sent the reminder repeatedly (snooze feature). For each drug, you can add the dose and frequency, so that you follow your treatment to the letter. Thanks to this feature, you will never forget taking your treatment and, thus, your blood pressure levels will remain stable.

Healthy diary to document your blood pressure values and not only

The CareClinic health app comes with a built-in health diary, in which you can record your blood pressure values. Apart from this data, you can mention if you have experienced any symptoms, including dizziness, heart palpitations or profuse sweating. Many people rely on a health diary to describe emotional manifestations, as living with a chronic condition can lead to anxiety and depression.

The health diary entries are compiled into monthly reports, which offer a comprehensive view of your current status. You can export these reports or even print them out, sharing all of this information with your treating physician. Together, you can discuss the necessity to adjust the treatment and potential lifestyle changes worth exploring to reduce blood pressure values.

 

Recording your treatment plan & lifestyle measures

The health app of CareClinic allows you to record complex treatment plans, as well as lifestyle changes. You can easily keep track of treatment changes and add new drugs, as well as organize your list of lifestyle changes and see your progress at all times.

Within the app, you can add all of the medication you are taking, such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers and beta blockers. The doctor might recommend a certain drug from each category, monitoring your blood pressure values to see if it is good for you or not. For example, when it comes to ACE inhibitors, he/she might choose between Captopril and Lisinopril.

As for the lifestyle changes, you can write down all of the measures recommended by the physician, such as losing weight, quitting smoking or reducing the alcohol intake. You can review these each day, making sure you stay on the right track. New measures can be added all the time, for example, your doctor might advise you to cut back on caffeine or reduce the intake of salt. (R)

Blood pressure definition and normal values

Blood pressure can be simple defined as the force pushing blood throughout the body. When we speak about blood pressure, we include the systolic and diastolic values.

The systolic pressure is the one with the largest value, representing the maximum force with which the blood is ejected into the arteries from the heart (ejecting phase). The diastolic pressure, on the other hand, has a lower value and it refers to the vessel pressure when the heart is in the relaxation phase.

The blood pressure values are presented in mm Hg, with the healthy limits varying between 90/60 and 120/80. We are talking about the risk of developing hypertension when the values are located between 120/80 and 140/90 mm Hg (active measures should be taken to prevent the blood pressure from rising). The condition is defined as hypertension when one presents the value of 140/90 mm Hg or higher.

High blood pressure is dangerous, in the sense that it forces the heart to work more. At the same time, the permanent increased pressure on the blood vessels can cause these to harden, with the risk of life-threatening complications. When no treatment is taken, one can suffer heart attacks, stroke or kidney failure.

As hypertension rarely causes any symptoms, the diagnosis is often made through regular monitoring of one’s blood pressure. Upon reaching the age of 40, it is recommended that the blood pressure is checked every few years. These checkups can reduce the risk of severe complications, with adequate treatment of hypertension being established. (R)

What are the causes of hypertension?

Primary hypertension is often idiopathic, meaning its exact cause is unknown. Among the factors that contribute to high blood pressure, there are: excess consumption of salt, sleep deprivation, alcohol abuse, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, obesity and age.

One in twenty adults suffer from secondary hypertension, induced by pre-existing conditions, such as: scleroderma or lupus erythematosus, adrenal tumors, hyper/hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. Certain medications can lead to hypertension, including steroids, oral contraceptives and OTC cold/cough remedies. Chronic alcohol and drug abuse are responsible for high blood pressure as well. (R)

How can one keep blood pressure under control?

In order to keep the blood pressure values under control, one must consider a combination of antihypertensive medication and lifestyle changes. The medication is recommended in accordance to one’s age, pre-existent conditions and associated health risks.

As previously mentioned, the drugs recommended for high blood pressure include ACE inhibitors (Lisinopril, Benazepril, Captopril). These prevent the arteries from narrowing, having a relaxing effect. Angiotensin II receptor blockers, such as Candesartan or Losartan, have a similar effect.

Additional medications include calcium channel blockers (Amlodipine, Diltiazem), diuretics (Hydrochlorothiazide, Furosemide), beta-blockers (Atenolol, Propanolol). You should talk to the doctor about each of these drugs, asking about benefits and potential side-effects. (R)

Lifestyle changes can reduce blood pressure values as well. The doctor might advise you to cut back on the overall intake of salt and maintain a balanced diet, low in fats. You should also consider becoming more physically active and sleeping for at least 7-8 hours per night. It is also advisable to lose weight, give up smoking and cut back on alcohol & caffeine.

CareClinic, the right app for hypertensive patients

If you are wondering whether CareClinic is the right app for you or not, the answer lies in its many benefits. As a hypertensive patient, you need a health app that allows you to document your blood pressure data and additional medical information. Moreover, this app sends medication reminders, helping you take your medication on time and stay healthy.

The application allows you to record not only antihypertensive medication but also other drugs. You have complete freedom to decide on the frequency and dosage. It is possible to document other health measurements with the help of the app, including your weight, sleep schedule and level of physical activity. Upon reviewing your medical data, the doctor can decide whether your current treatment is effective or not.

CareClinic can make a genuine difference in your life, in the sense that it ensures the necessary medication adherence and it prevents your condition from becoming worse. It is a tool that facilitates adequate blood pressure management, allowing you to analyze and document your health data.

As previously mentioned, the doctor can benefit from the use of this application, thanks to the monthly reports that are generated. The app offers a quick overview of your condition, allowing the physician to coordinate and change the treatment plan accordingly. It forces you to stop neglecting your blood pressure spikes and deal with any existent triggers, improving your health overall.

From a practical perspective, it is worth mentioning that CareClinic has a simple and easy-to-use interface. It is a free app, so you do not have to worry about in-app purchases or hidden costs. It is available on both iOS and Android, and there is also a web version that can be used with the same features included.

CareClinic’s health is recommended to anyone who has been diagnosed with high blood pressure, as well as for those who want to reduce the risk of developing such health problems. It allows you to stay in control, avoiding life-threatening complications and maintaining the absolute best quality of life.

To get started tracking your hypertension, click here to signup and download CareClinic.

 

Alexandra V.

Alexandra V. holds a degree in Physiotherapy from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Carol Davila. She holds an additional degree in Journalism and writes in English and German. She is passionate about preventative health care and an undergrad in Medicine.
Alexandra V.