Retinopathy management for prehypertension patients

Retinopathy management for prehypertension patients

Over 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension. Hypertension increases your risk for developing a number of serious health problems including heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, sexual dysfunction, and peripheral artery disease (PAD). But, high blood pressure can also increase the risk of damage to your eyesight by causing abnormalities in the blood vessels of the retina. This condition is referred to as retinopathy and can result in double or dim vision, headaches, visual disturbances, and even a loss of vision.

While retinopathy is more associated with diabetes, untreated hypertension can also result in permanent damage to the retina. Unfortunately, many people with hypertension have also been diagnosed with diabetes which leads to an even greater risk of developing retinopathy. Because there are no outward signs of retinopathy and that symptoms may go unnoticed until the disease has progressed, early detection through regular screening by an ophthalmologist is crucial to preserving your vision.

There is no cure for retinopathy, but there are a variety of treatments that can be very effective in preventing vision loss if the retina is not too severely damaged. These include laser procedures to seal or destroy abnormal and leaking blood vessels, anti-VEGF injections, treatment with anti-inflammatory medications, or surgery to remove the vitreous gel from the eye.

Do everything you can

If you have pre-hypertension, you’re putting yourself at risk for developing hypertension in the future along with retinopathy. Pre-hypertension refers to blood pressure ranges between 120-139 systolic and between 80-89 diastolic. While there are genetic factors that can contribute to pre-hypertension, unhealthy diet, smoking, alcohol, obesity, and lack of exercise are all contributory factors.

Ways to reverse prehypertension include exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy body weight, cutting down on the amount of alcohol you consume on a daily basis, and quitting smoking.

Retinopathy management involves getting regular yearly checkups by an ophthalmologist or even more frequent exams if you have also been diagnosed with diabetes. Keeping your blood pressure levels within normal range can go a long way to preventing the development of retinopathy.

Stay on top of your numbers

One of the most important factors in reversing pre-hypertension before it can develop into full-blown hypertension is through early detection. Ivy Health Lab’s smart wrist monitor for blood pressure allows you to keep track of your blood pressure between doctor’s visits.

Working in tandem with the free Ivy Health app, you can track your BP measurements and store them in the cloud. You can share this data with your physician who can then use it to make changes to your current lifestyle — adjust your diet when needed, for example — if your numbers start to increase.

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with pre-hypertension or just want to prevent it from happening, Ivy Health’s wireless wrist blood pressure monitor gives you the ability to stay on top of your BP numbers from home or while you travel.