Dr Dilraj on how to manage your health for World Hypertension Day
I work with patients with chronic illnesses and look at how lifestyle changes can make an impact. A common problem I see is hypertension. Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure, and it can lead to severe complications and increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and death. On 17th May it is World Hypertension Day, which is the perfect time to explore high blood pressure and encourage people to #KnowYourNumbers.
Qardio devices make it super easy to monitor your heart health when you have health concerns. Devices like Qardio’s, empower you to measure your health and see if the changes you make have an affect on your heart. For example, changes to your medications; changes to your eating habits; changes to your activity levels; and even changes to your stress levels. Here are some of the ways to make the most of Qardio devices for your health.
QardioArm gives you an easy way to understand your blood pressure on a day to day basis; as opposed to when you go to the doctor and your readings are artificially high from white coat hypertension. White coat hypertension is a condition where a patient’s blood pressure is higher when taken in a medical setting than it is in other settings, such as at home. By using QardioArm from the comfort of your own home you get a more accurate reading of your blood pressure.
Having more regular information means you can optimise your drug doses and make lifestyle changes to improve your measurements. This could be the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which is an eating plan that focuses on lowering or controlling blood pressure; incorporating exercise into your daily routine; or actively reducing your stress levels through meditation. With any changes like these, you can monitor your progress closely with QardioArm.
If you feel dizzy or lightheaded when you stand, you may have what is called postural hypotension. This is diagnosed when there is a drop of 20mmHg in your systolic blood pressure (the top number) or a drop of 10mmHg in your diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) within two to five minutes of standing up. If this applies to you, see your doctor; but there are a number of things you can try, such as: keeping well hydrated, minimising alcohol intake, taking up exercise, eating smaller meals, carefully increasing salt intake or having vitamin and iron supplements. Whichever you think is suitable for you, you can continue to monitor your body’s responses with QardioArm in response to each change you make.
If you have had a sense that your heart is racing, unexplained dizziness or chest pain the first thing you need to do is see your doctor urgently; however there are times when these issues are ongoing with no clear cause. Monitoring your ECG trace continuously with QardioCore gives your doctor the opportunity to see what your heart is doing at times when your symptoms come on. Moreover you can identify possible causes, such as palpitations occurring on days where you have excessive caffeine or chest pain only on exertion. Even if you do not have these symptoms, monitoring your ECG is important for anyone at higher risk of heart disease: people with hypertension, high cholesterol or a family history of heart disease. QardioCore offers a more in-depth insight into your heart health which is invaluable when managing a heart condition.
QardioCore also offers an opportunity to get healthier as well as manage disease. Broadly speaking, heart rate variability is the variation in heart rate linked to your breathing at rest and relates to the activity of your parasympathetic nervous system and state of recovery. This is particularly relevant to exercise, giving you a sense of when to push yourself more or less in the gym. To start, it is good to wear the QardioCore for a while to get a sense of your baseline. QardioCore is an ECG free from patches and wires, which means you can wear it throughout the day and whilst you exercise. Then you will want to measure HRV at roughly the same time each day: higher levels indicate more recovery while long-term low levels may indicate chronic stress. There are a multitude of lifestyle factors that will contribute to HRV so in addition to exercise, you can change how you approach nutrition, stress and sleep and monitor their impact on your heart health.
As you can see, there are so many uses of Qardio devices beyond the obvious blood pressure and ECG monitoring. Used in the right way, they truly empower you to manage, monitor and improve your health. This World Hypertension Day, know your numbers and take any of the steps I’ve mentioned above and start moving towards a healthier heart.
Dr Dilraj Kalsi (‘Dr Dil’) is a Lifestyle Doctor who runs Hippocrates Lounge, a bespoke lifestyle clinic targeting long term illness through how you eat, move, think and sleep.