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  • Writer's pictureDmitri Konash

High Blood Pressure Symptoms


What are high blood pressure symptoms

What are high blood pressure symptoms?


There is a short and simple answer to this questions: there are no definitive symptoms for high blood pressure (hypertension). The only way to diagnose high blood pressure is to take regular readings with a blood pressure monitor and compare results with the blood pressure chart (below).


This post provides answers to the most popular questions related to blood pressure which I receive from our YouTube channel subscribers with well over 1 million views and our blood pressure app BreathNow with tens of thousands users. Check scientific research papers referenced in my answers for further details.


I am not a medical doctor and I do not offer medical advice. I am a computer science PhD who has suffered from hypertension and who fixed this medical issue without medications in less than a year. Using just calming techniques and moderate aerobic exercise (brisk walking). Many of the questions below are technology related so with my computing background and personal experience in fixing high blood pressure I am in a good position to answer them.


Blood pressure chart by age


Our body's arteries get stiffer as we age, causing blood pressure to go up. This can be true even for people who have healthy habits and feel fine [1]. So generally blood pressure does increase with aging. There are many blood pressure charts on the internet which show AVERAGE blood pressure readings by age.


However the age AVERAGE numbers should not be mixed with the RECOMMENDED numbers. Just because your numbers fit the average range doesn't mean that your blood pressure is at a healthy level. The safest choice is still to use the widely accepted chart from the American Heart Association [2] (below) which is valid for all ages.

Blood pressure chart by age: American Heart Association

You likely have read that high blood pressure may lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and other nasty health issues. Get advice from your doctor if your blood pressure readings are out of the normal age.


How to monitor blood pressure?


Here is what Dr. Peter Attia says about blood pressure at Huberman Lab Podcast [3]. “The more aggressively you manage your blood pressure to be in the 120/80 range - the better”. Here is another quote from Dr. Attia on this: “Too many people are walking around not knowing that they have high blood pressure”.


As we said above: there are no definitive symptoms for high blood pressure. However, there are some clues: fatigue, headaches, bad night sleep, feeling anxiety, higher than usual heart beat. These symptoms may accompany many different illnesses. If you experience any of them a good idea is to start from measuring blood pressure.


I learned this lesson through my own experience. I complained to my doctor about fatigue, irritation and bad night sleep. He suggested that I track my blood pressure for several weeks and then diagnosed me with hypertension.


How to check blood pressure?


Many people experience so-called ‘white coat syndrome’ when their blood pressure is measured by a doctor. It is better to take blood pressure readings at home when you feel fully relaxed. The guidelines recommend sitting comfortably for 5 minutes before taking a blood pressure reading.


To minimise mistakes it is better to take blood pressure readings three times with a few minutes between the measurements and then average the numbers. Unless your doctor prescribes otherwise, it is better to measure blood pressure twice per day: in the morning and in the late afternoon or early evening.


IMPORTANT: If you suspect that you may have high blood pressure, one time measurement in the doctor's office or your friend’s house is not sufficient. It is not going to produce a real picture. See more on this below.


How to choose a blood pressure monitor?


When there is a suspicion that a patient may have high blood pressure, Dr. Attia suggests him/her to measure blood pressure twice per day for two weeks and take notes. Dr. Attia suggests using automated blood pressure monitors which are more convenient.


I would also add that you may consider a blood pressure monitor with a Bluetooth connection. If you are really serious about keeping a history of your blood pressure readings and sharing this data with your doctor - it is much easier to keep these records on your smartphone. This is where Bluetooth enabled devices become handy. Check Apple instructions here how to connect Bluetooth enabled blood pressure monitors to iPhone.


The market of blood pressure monitors develops quickly. There are some new interesting devices which I reviewed in my posts. Like the 24x7 Aktiia blood pressure monitor with an optical sensor. Or YHE BP Doctor Pro smartwatch which has a thin inflatable cuff under the watch strap.


IMPORTANT: if you are shopping for a blood pressure monitor check the list of medically approved devices for your country.


What is the best tool for tracking blood pressure?


Why do you need to log blood pressure in the first place? These days you are unlikely to meet a doctor who will be happy with taking her patients blood pressure once per year during a medical check up. As Dr. Peter Attia explains, he wants all his patients with suspected hypertension to record blood pressure for at least two weeks. Obviously, those with confirmed high blood pressure have to do it twice per day through the treatment process.


There is another reason for tracking blood pressure. An article in Science Daily explains; “Research has shown that regular home monitoring can help with blood pressure control, and that better control can mean reduced risk of death [4]. “


One can log their blood pressure measurements with pen and paper. However smartphones are a better way of tracking blood pressure. If you have a Bluetooth enabled blood pressure monitor, then recording blood pressure readings is very easy. Just take a blood pressure reading and the monitor will automatically send the measurements to your smartphone.


Even if you have a regular blood pressure monitor without Bluetooth, logging your data with a smartphone app has many advantages. Like setting reminders to take readings or sharing the data with your doctor without actually visiting him.


Advanced blood pressure apps like BreathNow, which we built based on my personal experience with managing and fixing blood pressure, includes even more features. Like insights into which activities positively or negatively impact your blood pressure.

The main feature of BreathNow blood pressure app is tracking blood poressure

The need to move from a paper log to a much more convenient blood pressure log app was my first driver in creating BreathNow. Blood pressure tracker app is a foundation of BreathNow.


Can you check blood pressure with phone?


I hear this question from my subscribers VERY often. The reason is a big number of fake apps which falsely claim that their users can measure blood pressure on their phones WITHOUT an external blood pressure monitor. At the time of writing this post (May 2023) this technology is NOT available yet.


This means that you can NOT check blood pressure with a phone WITHOUT an external blood pressure monitor.


Can you check blood pressure Apple Watch?


Same answer as to the previous question. As of May 2023 you can NOT measure blood pressure with Apple Watch. The Apple Watch can be a useful tool, however, for managing blood pressure. See below.


Can you manage blood pressure using Apple Watch ?


Though you can not measure blood pressure with Apple Watch, you can use it effectively for blood pressure management. For example you can test your stress level with a stress monitor and do breathing exercises to lower blood pressure if you install BreathNow - a blood pressure app for Apple Watch.


Check this video from our YouTube channel for a full list of things which you can do on Apple Watch to lower blood pressure.


Doing breathing exercises on Apple Watch is a much more discrete process and you attract less attention as compared to doing breathing exercises to lower blood pressure on iPhone.


Can you download blood pressure app free?


There are many free blood pressure apps which provide some reasonable functionality. Most of them however allow only to track blood pressure. Be aware of fake apps which offer an opportunity to measure blood pressure with a phone.


The more advanced apps provide full blood pressure tracking capability (with using the data from external blood pressure monitors) AND they also provide guidance on how to lower blood pressure. For example, our app BreathNow guides users on how to do a 3in1 Program to lower blood pressure, stress and biological age. Without medications. The most popular feature of BreathNow is breathing exercises to lower blood pressure. Most of the functions are free and you can try premium features for free during a 3 day period.


Finger blood pressure app for iPhone ?


This idea comes from fake apps which claim that users can measure blood pressure by applying a finger to a phone’s camera. In fact, users can measure their heart rate this way. However this method does NOT allow us to measure blood pressure.


BreathNow app allows users to measure not only heart rate with a phone’s camera, but also measure stress with the stress monitor.


Can you check blood pressure on-line?


As we said above: there are no definitive symptoms for high blood pressure. Hence it is impossible to fill out a questionnaire on-line and check your blood pressure status.


Summary


If you suspect that you may have developed high blood pressure it makes sense to consider buying a medically approved blood pressure monitor and start tracking your blood pressure measurements at home. Measure blood pressure twice per day for two weeks using the protocol described above. Taking one-off readings is not going to produce meaningful results.


If it turns out that your blood pressure is indeed regularly out of the normal range as recommended by the American Heart Association - talk immediately to your doctor. Show them BreathNow and agree on the best way to integrate mindfulness and physical exercises from the app into your overall treatment plan.


REFERENCES:

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