Did you know that 35.8 million people in the US suffer from hypertension, or high blood pressure? That’s 11% of the US population! Of this total, 14.1 million people are unaware of their condition and 5.7 million people are aware, but their condition goes untreated. The remaining 16 million people are aware of their hypertension and are currently seeking treatment to reach normal blood pressure levels.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified cardiovascular diseases as the number one killer in the world. 
As the risks of encountering a heart attack or stroke are infinitely higher for people who have high blood pressure, it is imperative that we get these levels under control. 70% of people who have their first heart attack suffer from high blood pressure and 80% of people who encounter their first stroke suffer from high blood pressure. Not only is high blood pressure dangerous, it is also incredibly costly. In fact, High blood pressure costs the nation $46 billion each year. 
Luckily, adopting new lifestyle practices could prevent a large portion of these deaths and diseases. As medical technologies continue to become more readily available outside of doctors’ offices, the ability to practice home monitoring techniques to regularly track blood pressure levels is accessible to more and more people. In fact, individuals with hypertension are shown to be more in control of their disease when they practice SMBP (self-measurement of blood pressure) than with medication alone. Withings conducted a study to test the effects of enrolling people in a blood pressure monitoring program. From the study, Withings derived that the program had the effect of reducing participants’ systolic pressure (the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats) by 6 mmHg and diastolic pressure (the pressure in the arteries between heart beats) by 2 mmHg. Withings also saw that a decrease of 5 mmHg reduces the heart attack mortality rate by 14% and the heart disease mortality rate by 9%. 
In addition to the importance of regularly measuring blood pressure, tracking and improving physical activity levels is a great way to combat hypertension. Controlled trials have shown a reduction of 5 mmHG systolic pressure in the hypertensive individuals who exercised regularly for at least 8 weeks. There is also a high correlation between weight loss and lowering blood pressure. Users in the Withings study who lost 22 lbs or more over the period of a year also lowered their systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 3 mmHg. 
According to Jerry Penso, MD, MBA, President of the American Medical Group Foundation, engaging patients in their own care – both in and out of the office – makes a big difference when it comes to blood pressure management. Remote patient monitoring can be an integral part of helping patients to efficiently manage their blood pressure levels. For some patients, blood pressure readings may appear higher when they are in a doctor’s office (sometimes called “white coat syndrome”). This may provide inaccurate results and could potentially lead to dangerous outcomes for patients. Remote patient monitoring can help to combat this syndrome by providing doctors with a larger and more representative set of blood pressure measurements.
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The first step in preventing or fighting against high blood pressure is in understanding the issue. We’ve made sure to provide numerous fast facts and tips throughout the month to help you better understand the silent killer. Here are some quick ways to incorporate heart healthy habits into your everyday life.
1. Aim for 10,000 steps a day. Start small with a walk during your lunch hour or after dinner. For extra motivation, find a walking partner, as you are more likely to make it a habit with someone by your side. Finding the extra time in your day may seem impossible, especially if you are frequently tied up at work. The first few days of forming a new habit are the hardest, and the second and third weeks will begin to feel more natural, and you may inspire other around you to get active as well.
2. Set yourself a goal and monitor your progress. Whether it is a weight loss goal, or training for your first 5k, we are often motivated by specific goals, rather than lofty aspirations. Sign up for that 10k you’ve always been talking about and set up a weekly running routine to whip yourself into shape. Studies have indicated that people who monitor their daily activity levels with a pedometer walk an average of 2,000 additional steps a day, and record a drop in their blood pressure of 3.8 mmHg. 
3. Set reminders in your smartphone or daily planner to take your Blood Pressure regularly. The numbers you record may surprise you, and it’s best to catch high blood pressure at its onset. 62% of Withings users changed their daily habits once they started monitoring health metrics. 
4. The mid day slump has a way of making us crave a third cup of coffee or reach for a salty snack food. We don’t expect you not to indulge, but we hope to help you indulge smarter.
5. Sleep for 7-8 hours a night, every night. When you’re asleep, your heart rate drops allowing your body to rest up from working hard all day long. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your heart will be overworked which could lead to high blood pressure or other heart diseases.
6. Limit your stress levels. We’ve all had bad days, but it’s important to find time to unwind. Try mediating for five minutes a day, squeezing in a yoga class, or journaling positive thoughts.
Check out our blood pressure pledge to see how some of our Withings users found ways to improve their heart health.
Start measuring your vital signs today and take control of your health.
1.Valderrama AL, Gillespie C, King SC, George MG, Kong Y, Gregg E. Vital signs: awareness and treatment of uncontrolled hypertension among adults-United States, 2003-2010. MMWR. 2012;61:708-9.
2. “Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs).” WHO. N.p., n.d.
3. Mozzafarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2015 Update: a report from the American Heart Association.Circulation. 2015;e29-322.
4.Topol, Eric, and Nicolas Postal-Vinay. “White Paper on Connected Health: The Case for Medicine 2.0.” Http://www.withings.com/us/health-institute-white-paper/. Withings, n.d. Web.
5. Topol, Eric, and Nicolas Postal-Vinay. “White Paper on Connected Health: The Case for Medicine 2.0.” Http://www.withings.com/us/health-institute-white-paper/. Withings.
6. Topol, Eric, and Nicolas Postal-Vinay. “White Paper on Connected Health: The Case for Medicine 2.0.” Http://www.withings.com/us/health-institute-white-paper/. Withings.
7. Withings survey, 2013