—by Cate Stevenson, BA
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is without question one of the most common and well-known causes of heart disease. A staggeringly high number of people have it — estimates peg it at around 50 million — except about 30% of them don’t know it yet. This is dangerous, because, if you have hypertension, you won’t know that you need to change your habits and work on lowering it.
It is extremely important to treat high blood pressure as soon as possible, because it can have drastic consequences over time. Kidney disease, stroke, and heart disease can all result from hypertension. What causes high blood pressure? There are many factors that can influence your blood pressure to rise beyond safe limits. There is no one particular cause, nor is there one complete cure for high blood pressure. If you have any questions about your own blood pressure, consult your doctor. This is one condition that you should not ignore or put off until later. Some common causes of hypertension include obesity, stress, family history, lack of exercise, high intake of salt, alcohol abuse and certain diseases such as diabetes.
Reducing high blood pressure will likely mean addressing a number of the common risk factors. Monitoring your blood pressure is also a very important piece of the puzzle when it comes to protecting your heart. Knowing that your blood pressure is high (or low) gives you the opportunity to take immediate action. It can also help to determine your triggers — those particular things that cause a change in your blood pressure. With this in mind, you might be interested to know that an online blood-pressure monitoring program can significantly help in the battle against hypertension. According to researchers, online blood-pressure monitoring made a major difference in health management for patients with uncontrolled hypertension.
A U.S. research team studied more than 350 patients, aged 18 to 85, who had uncontrolled high blood pressure. The study participants were randomly assigned to two groups: one that received ordinary treatment and one that took part in a monitoring program in conjunction with the American Heart Association’s www.Heart360.org web site. This web site helps people manage their heart health at no cost.
Study participants who took part in the online program transmitted blood pressure readings via a home computer to their physicians. After six months, the research team found that 58% of those in the program had lowered their blood pressure to healthy levels, compared to just 38% of those in the other group.
Talk to your health-care provider if you want to learn more about online blood-pressure monitoring.