What is hypertension?
Hypertension is commonly called high blood pressure. High blood pressure is when the pressure in your veins and arteries remains elevated above your normal baseline.
There are two types of hypertension: primary and secondary. There is no consensus on what causes primary hypertension.
Historically, managing chronic disease, like high blood pressure, has been treated reactively (retroactively) instead of proactively. Patients tend to be passive in detecting and managing this chronic condition.
What causes hypertension?
Perhaps evident as being the most common chronic condition American adults experience, high blood pressure is often a symptom of an underlying condition.
Sleep apnea, kidney disease, thyroid abnormalities, and risk factors below are several leading contributors to high blood pressure or secondary hypertension.
The top risk factors are pretty common in most communities.
Just putting this list together made my blood pressure go up.
- Not enough vitamin D.
- Not enough potassium.
- Low levels of physical activity.
- Lots of salt.
- Lots of alcohol.
- Lots of stress.
- Birth control.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
- Cough and cold medication with pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine.
- Other chronic conditions (diabetes, kidney disease).
- Stimulants (cocaine, amphetamines).
- Tobacco use.
Why care about hypertension or high blood pressure?
At first, high blood pressure may seem like a small concern. Unfortunately, it leads to some crucial complications that shorten your lifespan, reduce your quality of life, and negatively impact your overall well-being.
- Heart attack or stroke.
- Heart failure.
- Compromised blood vessels in your kidneys.
- Metabolic syndrome.
Think about it; high blood pressure essentially means the blood carrying all the good things in your body is packed to capacity and cannot function efficiently. Your entire body system relies on your veins, arteries, heart, blood, and all of those mechanisms to work well together. Experience hanger (hungry anger)? Your blood sugar is low. Imagine your blood pressure going out of control, misfiring energy deliveries, and other critical nutrients. The entire system suffers when hypertension goes unresolved.
High blood pressure makes you feel generally unwell and can cause confusion, disorientation, headaches, anxiety, and other mood-impacting symptoms.
High blood pressure most commonly does not present any measurable self-reported symptoms unless it has been tracked accurately. That is why measuring trends over time is more important, made easier with data aggregators and dashboards oriented towards health charting.
In the end, the only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to measure your blood pressure. Your healthcare provider can take it during an office visit, or you can measure your blood pressure at home.
Blood pressure monitor Withings is on our roadmap of data connectivity.
Check out the Withings device on Amazon Smile and help us by signing up for Live Learn Innovate Foundation as your supported organization.
A blood pressure reading is given as two numbers. For instance, blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg are considered within the normal range.
Your systolic blood pressure, the upper number, refers to how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when your heart beats. Diastolic blood pressure, the lower number, indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when your heart is resting between beats.
High blood pressure is usually diagnosed in stages. Elevated blood pressure is a systolic pressure of 120-129 mm Hg, and a diastolic pressure of less than 80 mm Hg. High blood pressure Stage 1 is defined as 130-139 over 80-89 mm Hg.
How do you detect hypertension sooner?
Your annual (or let’s face it, decennial) doctors visit will not detect hypertension until it exists. Remember our opening remark about modern management being reactive?
Over time, you see trends and similarities in your day-to-day feelings and symptoms when you mindfully track them. It does not have to be a chore. Using the LLIF mobile app to track symptoms or add a daily rating takes 10 seconds or less each time. Using the LLIF web dashboard, you can upload data from your health monitors, fitness trackers, mood trackers, symptom trackers, and more. We include weather, pollen, and air quality data to use with your data visuals.
Start seeing correlations between activity levels and symptoms. Connect your Withings device to get blood pressure data directly in the LLIF software.
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The best way to detect and manage hypertension or high blood pressure is to prevent it altogether or learn what causes it in your life specifically. Knowing is half the battle, and the Live Learn Innovate Foundation is here to empower you to learn from your data.
Check out the Live Learn Innovate Foundation web dashboard and mobile app today.
Who we are
The Live Learn Innovate Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit entity that empowers software users to regain control of their personally generated health data, gain intuitive insights about their social data, learn the impact of their environment on health, and build a foundation of data analytics that empowers research, academics, and innovation in economic development.
Use cases for this secure, private method of data aggregation appear everywhere, expanding to family care, community growth, agricultural planning, and many more things still unseen. Help us keep going by getting involved today.