HEALTH

Medical coalition targets blood pressure of 130/80 for heart disease patients

BY Michael Johnsen

DALLAS — A new scientific statement issued jointly by three medical organizations earlier this week and published in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension, addresses how low to aim when treating patients with high blood pressure who also have vascular diseases.
 
The document provides an up-to-date summary on treating hypertension in patients who have both high blood pressure and have had a stroke, heart attack or some other forms of heart disease, said Elliott Antman, president of the American Heart Association and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
 
“The writing committee reinforces the target of less than 140/90 to prevent heart attacks and strokes in patients with hypertension and coronary artery disease,” he said. “This is important since confusion has arisen in the clinical community over the last year regarding the appropriate target for blood pressure management in the general population.”
 
The current statement is issued jointly by the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and American Society of Hypertension. The writing committee consisted of internationally recognized experts in the fields of cardiology and high blood pressure research.
 
According to the statement, while a target of less than 140/90 is reasonable to avoid heart attacks and strokes, a lower target of less than 130/80 may be appropriate in some individuals with heart disease who have already experienced a stroke, heart attack or mini-stroke or who have other cardiovascular conditions such as a narrowing of leg arteries or abdominal aortic aneurysm.
 
Blood-pressure lowering can be done safely, and the vast majority of individuals will not experience problems when standard medications are used, the committee wrote. However, the statement recommended that clinicians use caution in patients with coronary artery blockages, advising that blood pressure should be lowered slowly, and not strive to decrease the diastolic (lower number) blood pressure to less than 60 mm Hg, particularly in patients more than 60 years old.
 
The statement offers specific, evidence-based recommendations and contraindications to help clinicians select which anti-hypertensive medications to use in patients with various types of heart disease. For most patients, that will mean taking a beta-blocker by itself or in combination with other classes of drugs.
 
“In the spectrum of drugs available for the treatment of hypertension, beta-blockers assume center stage in patients with coronary artery disease,” said Clive Rosendorff, chair of the writing committee, professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, and director of graduate medical education at the Veterans Administration in the Bronx. In addition to their effect on blood pressure, beta-blockers slow the heart rate and reduce the force of cardiac contraction, both of which reduce the heart’s consumption of oxygen. They also increase blood flow to the heart by prolonging the time between contractions, which is when blood flows into the heart muscle.
 
“In addition to treating hypertension, this statement also recognizes the importance of modifying other risk factors for heart attack, stroke and other vascular disease, including abdominal obesity, abnormal cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking,” Rosendorff said.
 
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HEALTH

Dieters will draw motivation from new weight-loss visualization app

BY Michael Johnsen

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Visual Health Solutions on Friday introduced the Visualize You Weight Change Viewer mobile app, an ultra-sophisticated weight-loss activation tool that uses a photo to display the effects of weight loss on a user's facial appearance in unprecedented detail. Unlike conventional photo manipulations that only stretch or pinch images, the Visualize You Weight Change Viewer app generates a facial image that reflects actual weight-change dynamics aligned with an individual's target weight-loss goal.
 
The mobile app — developed with The Wellness Institute of the Cleveland Clinic, the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, and UnitedHealthcare — is meant to motivate individuals embarking on a formal healthy weight program, and enhance compliance. It will be demonstrated for the first time on television on "The Dr. Oz Show" on April 8.
 
A UnitedHealthcare-sponsored version of the app is now available for free in the Apple App Store or on Google Play. A non-sponsored version can be downloaded for $1.99.
 
"The Visualize You – Weight Change Viewer app is a major step forward in helping people approach weight loss in a more informed, educated and fun manner," stated Michael Roizen, chairman of wellness at the Cleveland Clinic.  
 
"The app provides a new perspective on tackling obesity by arming individuals with a visual image of their goal which provides a motivational boost," commented Holly Wyatt, associate professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. "Visualize You – Weight Change Viewer is a breakthrough in that it uses scientifically based algorithms to provide an unparalleled visual representation of what an individual will look like if they change behavior and lose weight. The app offers individuals a clear-cut end goal for weight loss and provides them with an important tool to activate and achieve a successful program."
 
The mobile app is an extension of a successful PC-based weight loss visualization program that Visual Health Solutions developed with UnitedHealthcare last year. 
 
"The Visualize You – Weight Change Viewer app is a unique digital tool that can help people reach their weight loss goals," said Brad Hunt of UnitedHealthcare. "We're pleased to support individuals through the use of the app, as they work toward a healthier future."
 
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Safe Heart introducing smartphone blood pressure monitor through crowdfunding

BY Michael Johnsen

 

 
 
ATLANTA — Having achieved earlier success through the Indiegogo launch of the iOximeter Smartphone Pulse Oximeter, Safe Heart recently launched a new crowdfunding campaign for Mobicuff, its new smartphone blood-pressure monitor. 
 
“The men and women receiving first diagnoses for hypertension grew up playing video games and are used to gaming elements in everyday life,” stated Yale Zhang, Safe Heart founder. “By making the previously tedious activity of measuring your blood pressure both fun and addictive, Mobicuff will move the needle and encourage positive lifestyle changes.”
 
“Built into the whole Mobicuff Ecosystem is this gamification, where there’s constant rewards, constant trophies and badges to keep you going,” said gamification expert Chris Klaus, founder of Kaneva. “It’s a real game-changer in the industry.”
 
Gamification elements added include trophies, rewards, unlockable features (such as The Mobicuff uploads to cloud and comparison with National Institutes of Heart averages) and an avatar called Mobie the Owl whose plumage and mood is dependant on how often the user measures.
 
The Mobicuff is a tethered hand pump blood pressure cuff for Android or iPhone. The campaign video, titled “More Frisky, Less Risky”, features a man pumping up the Mobicuff and checking to make sure his vital signs were good before engaging in bedroom activities with his wife. The technology was developed in partnership with researchers from the Oxford Centre for Affordable Healthcare Technology. 
 
Following the close of the Indiegogo Campaign, the Mobicuff is expected to be delivered in October of this year.
 

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