For those readers following along, I received my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree this past weekend. During that two and one-half years of study, much focus was trained on the global burden of disease. Specifically, potentially preventable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, including stroke. High blood pressure is the number one cause of all strokes. However, by controlling your blood pressure, the risk of stroke can decrease by 50%. The new and exciting telemedicine measures presently being introduced put prevention into the hands of every day men and women. National Stroke Awareness Month and World Stroke Day (October 29) seem the perfect time to address this. Preventive technology measures are now available to all. Namely, home blood pressure devices, such as Omron EVOLV Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor.
Omron sponsored this post. I received compensation and an Omron EVOLV device for the purpose of this review. All stated thoughts and opinions are my personal and professional impressions of this product. (And always ethical!)
According to the National Institutes of Health, one in six people will experience a stroke in their lifetime. This makes it one of the leading causes of significant disability in the United States. A stroke occurs when there is an interruption of the blood supply to the brain. This denies oxygen to the critical tissues, causing these cells to die. The result can be death, major one-sided paralysis, and/or difficulties in speech or eating. Therefore, prevention and early recognition of a stroke is vital. The acronym FAST is often used to alert individuals of the warning signs:
Face- smile and look for asymmetry
Arms- lift arms and look for asymmetry
Speech- listen for slurring or articulation
Time- act quickly and call 911
The positive message of National Stroke Awareness Month is that stroke is preventable! Some tips for decreasing your risk are:
- watch your sodium intake
- eat more fruits and vegetables for fiber
- commit to regular exercise
- refrain from smoking
- monitoring your blood pressure
Newer blood pressure guidelines were developed in 2017 to catch hypertension earlier on, before cardiovascular disease sets in. The present categories are:
Normal- Under 120/80 mm Hg
Elevated- Below 129 (systolic) and not above 80 (diastolic)
Stage 1 Hypertension: Below 139 OR not above 89
Stage 2 Hypertension: Over 140 OR over 90
Home Blood Pressure Monitors
By self-monitoring in the comfort of your home, the dreaded “white coat syndrome” is eliminated. (This refers to the elevation of anxiety, and therefore, blood pressure, when a doctor is in sight!) An additional benefit is measuring your pressure in real-life situations. Waiting for measurements weeks or months between physician visits can be ineffective and even dangerous. According to the American Heart Association, using appropriate technology methods can now achieve optimal results.
Omron EVOLV Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor
One of these home blood pressure devices is from Omron, the number one brand of blood pressure monitors for over 40 years. The Omron EVOLV Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor is portable, easy-to-use, and accurate. Simply:
- Download the Omron Connect US/CAN app on your smartphone
- Tap and pair with your smart device
- Place on upper arm and take reading
- Tap to transfer reading to the app with Bluetooth
Additional benefits that I have discovered with this unit include its use by unlimited individuals in a family or group. Also, unlimited memory storage in the app, and the ability to share your numbers with your physician or third party is key. As a physical therapist, I would greatly appreciate being in that loop with my patients.
High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for stroke. Self-monitoring can be an essential effort in reducing stroke incidence. Above all, self-care and a healthy lifestyle is in your control!