According to the Center for Disease Control, 67 million American adults (or 1 in 3) have high blood pressure. In 2009, more than 380,000 American deaths included it as a contributing or primary cause. High blood pressure isn’t only costly American lives; it’s also costing an incredible amount of money. High blood pressure costs the U.S. $47.5 billion in direct medical expenses and $3.5 billion in lost productivity each year.
While all this is certainly bad news, there is good news when it comes to blood pressure: it is extremely easy to monitor.
Blood Pressure Defined
Blood pressure can be determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to that blood flow in your arteries. The more blood pumped and the narrower the arteries, the higher blood pressure will be.
A blood pressure reading involves two numbers: a top number over a bottom number. The top number (systolic) measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats, while the bottom number (diastolic) measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart is in between beats.
Causes and Risks of High Blood Pressure
Often, high blood pressure is inevitable: with age comes hypertension. Yet, there are several things that can contribute to high blood pressure or bring it on prematurely. These causes include lack of exercise, a diet high in salt and sodium, excess weight, stress at work or home and genetics. When it comes to the latter, DNA is a major factor in whether a person will develop hypertension. But it’s not all bleak: even with a genetic disposition, many people can lower their blood pressure through an active lifestyle.
If blood pressure is high, a person is at greater risk for stroke, heart disease, aneurysm, kidney problems, heart failure, metabolic syndrome, problems of the venous system and issues with memory.
The iBP App
People often have their blood pressure taken at their doctor’s office. However, because doctor visits can invoke stress, these readings aren’t always accurate. Instead, monitoring your pressure on your own time may be a better option. The iBP app can help.
While an iBP app can’t actually measure your blood pressure (only a blood pressure cuff can do that), this app offers a concise and simple way to track your numbers and share them with your healthcare professionals. Some of the benefits to the iBP app include ease of use; color coding of your numbers to help alert you when they are abnormal; a notes section that allows you to record any special circumstances under which the blood pressure was taken; data graphed in linear, bar or table formats; data records for up to a year; customizable options; synchronization with other devices and multiple accounts.
What the Readings Mean
According to the American Heart Association, your numbers can be broken down as follows: 120 (for systolic) and 80 (for diastolic) and lower is normal; 120-139 or 80-89 is pre-hypertension; 140-159 or 90-99 is stage 1 hypertension; 160 or 100 and higher is hypertension stage 2, and 180 or 110 and higher is a hypertensive crisis and requires emergency medical care. The iBP app will help you see whether your numbers are within normal range or if lifestyle changes and medication are needed.
While blood pressure is something most of us will face, consistent monitoring can help you take action where action is needed.
Derek Fletcher is a freelance writer who traditionally writes on technology in medicine, health and fitness, wellness, the medical profession, medical science and other associated topics. Those interested in medical training should take a peek at practicalnursingonline.com.