Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Key Facts

  • Blood pressure often increases with body size and age.
  • Consistently elevated high blood pressure damages arteries and organs and can result in numerous diseases and early death.
  • Possible complications include stroke, heart attack, heart failure, aneurysm, kidney failure, vision loss, metabolic syndrome and dementia.
  • Even slightly above average blood pressure (pre-hypertension) can damage organs and increase risk of stroke.
  • To prevent, reverse or manage high blood pressure, the lifestyle behavior is absolutely beneficial.
  • When medications are required, they will be even more effective with proper nutrition, fitness and sleep.
  • As Dr. Steve discusses below, in most cases high blood pressure is a controllable risk.

The Problem

Consistently elevated blood pressure can lower the quality and length of life.      Enlarge

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The Solution

Olumia Life is a doctor-designed mobile app for a lifetime of looking and feeling better.

iPhone - Olumia

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Blood Pressure reduced 19 points in 12 weeks with doctor-designed app.

21 Common Drugs that Can Raise Blood Pressure


  • acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • asprin
  • ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others)
  • NSAIDS (indomethacin, Relafen, Nabumetone, ect.)
  • Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, others)

Nasal decongestants

  • phenylephrine (Benadryl Allergy and Cold, Sudafed PE, others)
  • pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, others)

Prescription medications

  • anti-depressants (Prozac, Fluoxetine, Effexor, Venlafaxine, others)
  • albuterol (AccuNeb, Proventil, others)
  • anabolic steroids (Oxandrin, testosterone, others)
  • bromocriptine (Parlodel)
  • cyclosporine (Sandimmune)
  • disulfiram (Antabuse)
  • ergotamine (Cafergot)
  • erythropoietin (Procrit)
  • glucocorticoids or cortico-steroids (Prednisone Intensol, Sterapred)
  • lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid)
  • MAO inhibitors (Nardil, Parnate, others)
  • oral contraceptives (Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Trivora, others)
  • stimulants (Adderall, Ritalin, others)
  • tacrolimus (Prograf)
  • tricyclic antidepressants (Pamelor, Tofranil, others)

Olumia Life – 12 Week Clinical Study Results

In a clinical study published in 2016, middle-aged users of the Olumia Life app-based program achieved substantial improvement in health metrics, including a 7.3% reduction in body mass index.

High Blood Pressure Can Have Far-Reaching Effects

Harming the arteries and blood vessels, making them stiffer and narrower is only the begining. Over time it can severely damage the heart, brain, eyes, and kidneys. These are the “Target Organs” of hypertension. Enlarge

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Detailed Discussion

Steven Willey

by Dr. Steven Willey

High blood pressure (also called hypertension) is the most common risk factor for premature death in America and world-wide for that matter. One in three Americans currently suffers from the corrosive effects of high blood pressure. In most instances, a patient with high blood pressure does not exhibit any noticeable symptoms; the condition is usually first identified with a routine screening.

Blood pressure is the measurement of the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. To measure blood pressure, two types of pressure are gauged: Systolic pressure (top number) which is the blood pressure when the heart contracts; and Diastolic pressure (bottom number) which is the blood pressure between heart beats.

Even pre-hypertension is a serious problem. If your resting blood pressure falls into the pre-hypertension range — systolic between 120 and 139 or diastolic between 80 and 89 — your doctor will likely recommend lifestyle modification. In most adults, full-blown high blood pressure occurs when the resting blood pressure is at or above 140/90. For people who have already crossed over into the high blood pressure range, lifestyle changes and medications are often used together to achieve maximum benefit.

Causes and Dangers

A number of factors and conditions may play a role in the development of elevated blood pressure. A partial list of these includes: lack of physical activity, lack of proper diet & nutrition, being overweight, aging, genetic predisposition, sleep apnea, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking.

The list of health problems associated with high blood pressure is so great that it should be avoided or controlled at all costs. High blood pressure frequently causes arteries once flexible to become hard and stiff. The arteries’ damaged cells become collection points for fatty deposits endangering your brain, heart, kidneys – even your eyes, arms and legs. By accelerating atherosclerosis, high blood pressure can contribute to dementia.

Everybody with consistently elevated blood pressure is at risk. The extent of the damage increases with the severity of the high blood pressure as well as how long it goes without being treated or controlled. It is critical to reverse elevated blood pressure without delay.

As noted above, pre-hypertension is dangerous and can cause damage to kidneys and other organs. The journal Neurology published a study suggesting that people with pre-hypertension are at a 55 percent higher risk of experiencing a stroke than those with normal blood pressure.

High Blood Pressure and Aging

Does blood pressure increase with age? In most instances, yes, if you let it. I mention this because too often I’ve seen people accept that their health will predictably decline as they age. If you take one thing away from this article let it be this: You do not have to settle for steady decline – almost anyone can counteract the effects of aging if they go about it correctly!

When is it too late to start improving your life and reaping the benefits? Almost never. You should consult with your own doctor first of course, but generally, even small improvements in diet, activity and sleep can yield meaningful outcomes for anyone at any age.

The Good News

In most cases, hypertension is highly controllable and can be lowered naturally by simple lifestyle changes. Most doctors advocate healthy diet, exercise and reduced sodium intake as a means to avoid or reduce medication and your doctor may have additional recommendations. The benefit of these modifications is often equal or greater than that of a single medication; however, most people end up requiring medication, which is helping millions live longer, healthier lives. When hypertension is high enough to justify immediate medication, lifestyle changes are still recommended in conjunction with the medication.

There is solid evidence that a healthy lifestyle is indispensable for preventing or controlling high blood pressure. The pillars of healthy living are exercising correctly, eating right and keeping weight under control — and don’t discount sleep. You don’t have to lead a perfect life; just starting with a few incremental changes usually shows encouraging results.

Sleep plays a surprising role in keeping blood pressure under control. In fact, research shows that getting less than 7 hours of sleep a night (as an adult) increases risk of high blood pressure, along with a host of other problems including weight gain. In the CARDIA study, each hour of sleep that a subject missed meant a 37 percent increase in the risk for high blood pressure. Sleep apnea is a common contributor to high blood pressure.

How to Help Yourself

Don’t take life or death chances with this disease. If you have high blood pressure, you should work with your doctor, but you should not passively expect your doctor or anyone else to take primary responsibility for your health. That responsibility belongs to you and you can do something about it.

And I always advise my patients to stay away from phony dietary supplements that claim to lower blood pressure. People who buy them are fooling themselves by trying to take a shortcut that won’t work. If you need medications, your doctor is the place to get them.

In my clinical experience, lifestyle factors such as being active and eating well are critical in preventing and controlling high blood pressure. I’ve seen many of my patients take an active role in bringing themselves back to good health through modest changes to their activity level, diet choices and sleep schedule. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of making the small lifestyle changes that can add up to big results. These changes are very straightforward when you know how to go about them.

Helping so many of our patients change their lives for the better is what inspired my colleagues and me to develop the Olumia Life program. It is the first complete guide for people who want a dependable pocket companion who tells them what to do, when to do it and why for healthier lifestyle and appropriate body weight.

I hope you or someone you close to you finds it useful.