So personal story time here – since I first discovered blood pressure machines in grocery stores in the 1980’s I’ve always been listed as borderline hypertense or greater. Whether I was in shape (I was in great shape in my 20’s) or not, my blood pressure has been high and documented as such my entire life.
Cut to the end of 2021 and it changed from borderline to absurd.
Basically at the end of 2021 my high blood pressure had high blood pressure, and for a fairly active 40+ year vegetarian who didn’t really care all that much for salt, any foods or drugs that raise BP, this was strange. I was not in great shape, but also not doing much that should have raised the bar significantly.
For the past year, one PCP, one heart/kidney specialist, and a hypertension clinic, I’ve had … looks like 15 medications thrown at me and my body defeated them all soundly. Oh, they might work for a week to get me down to borderline hypertension level, but my system rises to the challenge and usually within two weeks I’ve fought off whatever advantageous effects the medicine had. Yay drug resistant hypertension!
The part that sounds like a Withings ad
One thing through this entire time has been a few Withings products. I loved their watch so much I ended up buying their blood pressure cuff as I was getting tired of the old faithful BP cuff and having to manually enter in all the numbers. I threw in a Body+ smart scale five months later as my weight was yoyoing on medication and it really looked cool, and logged via Wi-Fi as well.
I went to a hypertension specialist and we went month by month with what I had been taking (they had the medication dates, I had the data for how it worked on me,) and I could show heart rate, exercise, weight, and blood pressure readings as I’d taken them. I’d been doing the BP readings pretty much hourly at one point, and taking the medication at the same time every day you could see what worked, or didn’t.
The scale has been giving me some updates that while I’m not losing a lot of weight I am gaining a decent amount of muscle (which is what I am attempting due to medication induced heart rate restriction,) and that’s nice to know because my six pack abs definitely pushed the surrounding keg out further these last couple of months.
The watch gives me heart rates every 30 minutes or so, letting me know what my averages for the day were. I was able to show the doc how the medicines did or did not work on my heart rate.
At two docs offices I was asked to bring the Withings BP Connect as well as my ancient BP machine with me and test it against calibrated doctor stuff. This wasn’t for review purposes, but basically because what I’ve logged over the past year, and backed up with my non-smart BP cuff multiple times, is universally pretty odd and they wanted to rule out that the Connect was at fault. It was not weirdness with my equipment. Just with my body.
I was reminded as I was about to go to sleep that my watch wanted charged. I charged it last about a month ago. You know how often I think about my watch? When I’m at the gym and need to press a knob to start a workout session, and once a month or so when I need to charge the thing.
None of the Withings products do I really need to think about. Press a button and sit there and my BP gets taken and is on the chart. The Scanwatch is just there with me at all times, looking stylish, and keeping up with my heart rate. The scale is lying through its teeth about my weight but I will let it live as I just step on it, and bam it’s in my chart with muscle mass, bone density, and some weather information as well it seems.
Yeah, anyway I walked into a hypertension clinic with the NP planning on sending me home with a log to keep up with for a month and basically after seeing what I had already recorded I ended up with a set of testing that/the next day.
Fun stuff. Honestly feel like if I didn’t have this stuff I’d be fighting a doctor every three weeks about how the medication was not working. I mean it’s been demonstrated on this little graph that it’s not working man.
Has any of these products solved the problem? Nope. But they’ve shown time and again that the medication I’ve been taking has not helped. And for that I’m pretty happy with that result. Speeding along to hopefully finding what is causing this since while I am old and fat, I was young and not and had the same issues. For that I’m grateful.
Also the watch, man, just love the look.
Oh yeah, Withings didn’t pay for this and there’s nothing I really want from them. I just thought I’d share that for me at least, they’ve helped me with three doctors over the past year attempting to figure out what’s up. Very few times I bring up a product that just works as I generally repeat focus on the horrible ones (looking at you Google.) Will also for transparency’s sake mention a PR firm gave me the watch, I bought the BP Connect, and.. forget where the scale came in but think that was PR.
Knowing what your body is doing and being able to graph it to a doctor, more useful that one might expect.