Dr. Jim Li
Executive Director, Global Medical Affairs, OMRON Healthcare Inc.
As a scientist with a doctoral degree, I am passionate about empowering people to take charge of their health at home through technology and innovation. However, we are facing greater cardiovascular health challenges today than ever before.
Globally, more than 1 billion people are hypertensive, which includes 116 million adults in the United States alone. And of those American adults who are in the hypertensive range, more than 37 million have uncontrolled Stage 2 hypertension, which means they are at greater risk of heart attack and stroke.
In addition to increasing risk of heart attack and stroke, hypertension is a leading underlying health condition for greater risk of complications from COVID-19. For those at the more advanced hypertension scale, that risk is now even higher during this pandemic.
Recent reports have shown that heart attack death rates have more than doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic, with fewer patients going to the hospital when they’re experiencing symptoms. That means many of these patients are not visiting their doctor during this pandemic and managing their hypertension. It also means the heart attack and stroke fatality rate — already at a crisis level — is even higher now.
Time to act
These are frightening times, yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80 percent of heart attacks and strokes are preventable, and that requires active management of one’s condition.
Today, technology is enabling high standards for performance and accuracy in blood pressure measurement devices, making a measurable and meaningful impact on consumers who need to manage their hypertension. Technology has helped them gain important insights, enabling them to have a more complete picture of their heart health.
As the industry evolves, transforming the global heart health marketplace is a challenge that must be accepted. Medical devices to measure blood pressure have also advanced. There are more wearables with higher standards of accuracy and there are more health devices that take lifestyle into consideration. That’s a good thing! It means more lives can be saved.
One in 2 adults in the United States has high blood pressure. Make sure you know if you are one of them. Do yourself (and your loved ones) a favor — get a blood pressure monitor and take your measurements regularly. It could save your life.