Did you know that hypertension is one of the most prevalent, yet often undiagnosed, chronic diseases? Discover how regularly tracking your blood pressure at home can help you stay healthy.
What is hypertension?
Hypertension is defined as an excessive elevation of blood pressure on the artery walls. In most cases, there is no direct known cause, and it is identified as “primary hypertension.” However, 10% of cases are “secondary hypertension,” meaning that the elevated blood pressure is the consequence of another renal disease. Additionally, in rare cases, hypertension may have a genetic cause. But whatever the origin of your hypertension, there are a number of factors that can increase your risk of developing it, such as age, excess weight, lack of physical activity, or a diet too high in fat or salt.
Hypertension is the most common chronic illness in the world. To help in the fight against this illness, we launched the Health Observatory, which allows us to see blood pressure readings of some of our users in real time via our connected devices. Which regions are the most affected by this illness? Are all age groups affected?
To answer these questions, explore, observe, and compare the data presented in the Health Observatory.
Why should I track my blood pressure?
Hypertension often presents without symptoms and is considered an “invisible” disease. Because of this, many people have hypertension without knowing it. Regularly measuring your blood pressure at home is thus an indispensable tool for both early detection of hypertension and of prevention of complications from the illness.
However, paying attention to symptoms is still a good idea, because hypertension may manifest in certain cases with some of the following symptoms: persistent or severe headaches that occur right after waking up, dizziness, blurred vision, heart palpitations, sweating, or even nose bleeds.
The importance of tracking blood pressure at home, compared to having it measured in a health professional’s office is confirmed by the latest recommendations of the European Society of Hypertension. Blood pressure varies throughout the day and in accordance with activity level. That means it’s best to take multiple measurements to have a reliable and representative average value. However, for those with an arrhythmia, it may be better to have a health professional track blood pressure.
Additionally, scientific studies demonstrate that arterial blood pressure is, on average, higher when measured by a health professional than when measured at home; this phenomenon is referred to as the “white coat effect.” This phenomenon does not pose a serious health risk, but it can lead to the misdiagnosis of hypertension and resulting over-prescription of anti-hypertensive medication.
On the other hand, when your blood pressure is higher at home than at the doctor’s office, you are said to have “masked hypertension.” In contrast with the white coat effect, this situation can pose a significant health risk, and it’s important to talk with your doctor if you’re concerned this may apply to you.
Because blood pressure generally tends to be higher at the doctor’s office, there are actually two different “normal” values for blood pressure, according to where the measurement is taken. At home, your blood pressure is considered normal if the average value is less than 135/85 mmHg, while at the doctor’s office or hospital, less than 140/90 mmHg is considered normal.
A smart blood pressure monitor can help you accurately measure blood pressure both at any time and over time, so you can identify developing hypertension, see the effects of medication or lifestyle changes on your blood pressure, or more accurately track your blood pressure if you suffer from the “white coat effect.”
So whether you have high blood pressure or simply want to stay on top of any changes in your blood pressure, self-measuring can be extremely beneficial.
“Site de l’Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (Inserm).”
– “2013 ESH/ESC Guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension: The Task Force for the management of arterial hypertension of the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) and of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).”
– “Ambulatory blood pressure in normotensive and hypertensive subjects: results from an international database.”
– “Masked hypertension: a systematic review.”