If you have followed my blog posts for a while, you would know that some of my main interests include tech news and healthy living. So, when there is a chance to combine the two, I jump at it. For several years now I have been interested in my health. It started with juicing and making sure that I have the daily allowances of fruit and vegetables. It then went on to include a more active lifestyle with the help of my UP3 fitness tracker (see blog here). I know I have been feeling a lot healthier, but it would be nice if I could take tests at home for things like high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. I very rarely go to the hospital and so I dont know my blood pressure. And, on the rare occasions that I had it taken, I didn’t really know what it meant. I did know that members of my family suffered from a high blood pressure, and that there are not always any symptoms. So, being able to test at home would be ideal.
I was in the UK over the new year holiday and one of the gifts I got for Christmas was a Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor. The price was about 3,300 Baht which is a little on the expensive side, but I had long since made the decision that when it comes to health, money shouldn’t be a consideration. It is true that you can get a similar, though low-tech, device from drugs stores in Thailand for around 2,000 Baht. But, as I already mentioned, I like gadgets and this one links to the Withings app that I already had on my smartphone for tracking my weight. It is also very easy to use. Just strap it on to your forearm, press the power button and the app will then automatically turn on. You then just press start. When it finishes, you get three readings which are stored on your smartphone.
The first two readings are for systolic and diastolic pressures. In the above example, my blood pressure is written as 109/71. The third reading is for my heart rate. The top number refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number refers to your blood pressure when your heart muscle is between beats. The app colour codes your results so that you can better understand it. Anything less than 120/80 is considered to be “optimal blood pressure”. Less than 130/85 is “normal blood pressure”. Once your readings go over these numbers than the colours change to orange and then to red. While I was in the UK, I was taking my blood pressure every day. The average was about 128/75 which is still a good reading. But, since I returned to Thailand, I am back into my routine of eating healthily and taking exercise. I truly believe this has helped lower my blood pressure to 109/71 which was today’s reading. I think that once I have taken off the weight I gained over the new year, I will probably average about 100/70.
So, what did I do to lower my blood pressure without taking any medicine? The first thing I did was regular exercise. Using my UP3 fitness tracker, I set a daily goal of 10,000 steps. The good thing about a wearable like UP and Fitbit is that you can set up challenges against other people to see who can walk the most during the week. To lower your blood pressure, it is also helps to cut out stress from your life. I know, sometimes easier said than done. But, some people create a lot of problems for themselves through bad decisions they make. I find that if I meditate before I sleep and also play some soft music I can get a better quality sleep. I use my UP3 tracker to see how much deep sleep I get each night. I’ve learned from experience that what I do and eat during the day affects the amount of deep sleep I can get. So, I make changes accordingly. Finally, what you eat is very important. Fruit and vegetables rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium play an important part in lowering your blood pressure. For example, kale, spinach, beetroot, banana, broccoli, sweet potato, avocado, blueberries etc. I start the day with a smoothie that blends together vegetables and fruit rich in these nutrients. Obviously, this won’t work for everyone and you should always take the advice of your doctor first.
The photo at the top of this page is from a Mashabe review of the blood pressure devices released by Withings and iHealth. It’s a bit of an old review as they’ve both been updated now and operate wirelessly using Bluetooth. I saw the iHealth in Bangkok for 3,790 Baht. You might be able to buy the Withings one in an iStore or iLive store. If there is anything here that you disagree with or you have something to add that will be helpful to others, then please post in the comments below. Please remember, none of this is scientific as I have no idea what I’m talking about. I just want to pass on my observations to my readers for free.