Hypertension

What You Should Know About Flying with High Blood Pressure

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With the Fall season quickly approaching, more people are starting to make travel plans for the holidays. Traveling, especially air travel can be stressful in itself, but if you are living with high blood pressure, it can be even more nerve-racking. Flying in high altitudes, even in a pressurized aircraft cabin, can pose an increased risk of hypoxia for people with hypertension. Hypoxia occurs when the body doesn’t have enough oxygen, which can result in swelling, blood clots, and damage to your organs. However, having high blood pressure shouldn’t stop you from airplane travel. Learn about some precautions you can take to help ensure a successful trip.

Talk to Your Doctor Before Your Trip

Before heading off for vacation, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your travel plans—especially if you struggle to control your high blood pressure. Your doctor will be able to do a thorough evaluation and determine whether you are okay to fly. If your doctor thinks it’s unsafe to fly, you may be able to discuss a better time to travel or alter your plans slightly.

Know Your Numbers

It’s important to measure your systolic and diastolic blood pressure before your trip and make sure you’re cognizant of your numbers while traveling. According to the American Heart Association, blood pressure is classified as:

  • Normal when systolic pressure is below 120 and diastolic pressure is below 80 mmHg.
  • Prehypertension when systolic pressure is 120-139 or diastolic pressure is 80-89 mmHg.
  • Hypertension when systolic pressure is above 140 or diastolic pressure is above 90 mmHg.

Know the Symptoms

Another important factor is to be aware of the signs and symptoms of hypertension. While high blood pressure doesn’t always have noticeable symptoms, these are some things to look for:

  • Fainting
  • Headache
  • Persistent aches and pains
  • Shortness of breath
  • Exhaustion

Travel Insurance

If you or someone you are traveling with has high blood pressure, consider safeguarding your trip with travel insurance. When purchasing insurance, declare your high blood pressure as a pre-existing medical condition. This will ensure that you are covered if anything happens and you need to cancel your trip or seek medical attention.

Reduce Your Risk

If you are someone who worries about traveling with high blood pressure and you haven’t found an effective, long-term solution through medications, diet, or lifestyle modifications, you may want to consider alternative therapies.

The CONTROL HTN-2 Clinical Trial from Rox Medical can help individuals with uncontrolled hypertension see a decrease in their blood pressure. This alternative therapy is designed to study the effectiveness of the ROX Coupler, a dime-sized stent placed in the upper thigh through a minimally invasive procedure that creates a small passageway from the artery to the vein. This allows high-pressured blood from the iliac artery to flow into the lower-pressured iliac vein in your pelvis. By shifting a modest amount of arterial blood flow to the venous system, blood pressure decreases.

The risk factors of hypertension are too extensive to ignore. And while you need to take precautions before traveling, we believe that high blood pressure shouldn’t keep you from exploring or visiting friends and family. If you experience uncontrolled hypertension that hasn’t responded to standard treatment options, the CONTROL HTN-2 may be able to provide the support you need so you can continue to live life as you want.

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Hypertension: How Race Affects Risk

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African Americans Face Higher Risk of Hypertension

Nearly half of all adults in the U.S. are living with high blood pressure (also known as hypertension). That adds up to an estimated 103 million people. Even more startling, research has shown that the onset and severity actually vary by ethnicity. Specifically, African Americans in the U.S. have among the highest rates of hypertension in the world. Not only do they tend to develop the condition earlier in life, but they also experience more severe symptoms and risks, from stroke and heart disease to blindness and dementia.

To further investigate this pattern, researchers looked at nearly 4,000 participants who had previously enrolled in a study called Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA). The individuals ranged from ages 18 to 30 years when they first enrolled in CARDIA and had no signs of high blood pressure. By the time they turned 55 years old, research could be gathered and revealed the percentage of those who developed hypertension:

  • 75.5% of black men,
  • 75.7% of black women,
  • 54.5% of white men
  • 40.0% of white women

Data also showed that regardless of blood pressure levels in young adulthood, African Americans still have a significantly higher risk for hypertension compared with Caucasians through 55 years of age. With such a discrepancy in percentages, it begs the question, “Why? Why is high blood pressure in African-Americans much more common?”

The reasons have yet to be pinpointed. Researchers believe that the relationship between African Americans and early-onset hypertension could be a combination of nature and nurture factors, from genetic predispositions to socioeconomic causes.

Genetic factors

The earlier onset and high rates of hypertension for African Americans could be a result of their genetic makeup. In research studies, African Americans in the U.S. responded differently to high blood pressure drugs than other races (source). There may also be a gene that makes their bodies more sensitive to salt and therefore retains more sodium — a contributing factor in raising blood pressure levels.

Environmental factors

Environmental differences, including lower socioeconomic status, poor nutrition, and access to healthy foods can also be a contributor. Additionally, poor nutrition and access to care for pregnant women can result in low infant birth weight, which has been linked to a higher risk of hypertension in adulthood (source).

While the causes of hypertension may still remain unclear, the disparity and risks are undeniable. Higher blood pressure levels are associated with increased rates of stroke, congestive heart failure, and end-stage renal disease. Women with hypertension also face a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Intervention is key

According to S. Justin Thomas, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, “It is urgent that healthcare providers counsel young patients, particularly blacks, about eating a healthy diet, being physically active and controlling body weight.” However, it’s not a catch-all solution and treating high blood pressure isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, especially for individuals who may not respond to hypertension medications.

Because research has shown that African Americans have a lower response rate to blood pressure medications, this line of treatment may not be as effective for some. For those who haven’t responded to BP medication, alternative therapies, such as clinical trials, may be able to help control blood pressure long term.

At Rox Medical, we are working to help individuals of all ethnicities with hypertension that hasn’t responded to medication or lifestyle modifications manage their uncontrolled high blood pressure. This is achieved through a device therapy called the ROX Flow Procedure and is currently enrolling qualified candidates in the CONTROL HTN-2 Clinical trial. The trial is designed to study the effectiveness of the ROX Coupler, a dime-sized stent placed in the upper thigh through a minimally invasive procedure that creates a small passageway from the artery to the vein. This allows high-pressured blood from the iliac artery to flow into the lower-pressured iliac vein in your pelvis. By shifting a modest amount of arterial blood flow to the venous system, individuals with uncontrolled hypertension may be able to see a decrease in their blood pressure.

While the racial disparities in hypertension and its risks have significant effects for African Americans, prevention programs, lifestyle changes, and alternative therapies may help manage it long term as well as fill in the gaps in research. In fact, many advanced medical solutions today are direct results from successful clinical trials. If you are interested in learning more about the CONTROL HTN-2 Clinical trial or want to see if you’re eligible to participate, see our requirements here. Be a part of making history with us and help reduce your risk of hypertension-related diseases.

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What Causes Hypertension?

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Hypertension is an enigma for many because it’s causes are generally unknown. While there are many risk factors for hypertension, the medical community has yet to be able to determine one exact cause. However, this isn’t all bad news. Because hypertension has many risk factors, it opens up the possibility of unconventional treatment of this chronic disease. We believe that a disease as complicated and nuanced as hypertension is, it requires a multi-faceted and unconventional approach in order to see long-term results.

Acute vs Chronic Causes

High blood pressure can be caused by both acute and chronic causes. An acute cause of high blood pressure may be stress or anxiety, especially in the form of nervousness. Known as “white coat hypertension”, when a person’s blood pressure only rises during a stressful situation, they may diss miss it as merely situational. However, white coat hypertension should not be ignored and is considered an acute cause of high blood pressure. In fact, those prone to white coat hypertension are found to be more susceptible to chronic high blood pressure later in life.

Chronic high blood pressure, on the other hand, has a much wider variety of risk factors and is sometimes thought to be the result of an underlying disease such as kidney disease. Those who are at risk for chronic high blood pressure most fall into one of the following categories:
Usually over 60 years old in age
Being overweight or obese
Other existing health concerns such as high cholesterol levels, diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

However, regardless if you’ve been diagnosed with acute or chronic hypertension, neither one can be ignored. High blood pressure must be addressed because when left unresolved, it can lead to heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular disease.

When Your Numbers Keep Rising

Many people are treated for hypertension with various forms of medication, yet do not see a significant change in numbers. Many medical professionals will give additional protocols to lifestyle changes that are said to help decrease high blood pressure. These include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Decrease of salt consumption
  • Decrease of alcohol consumption
  • Manage stress
  • Address other underlying medical issues

However, many of these solutions, in conjunction with medication, do not effectively lower blood pressure as a long-term solution. In fact, even if you manage all of the above, you may continue to see an increase in your high blood pressure numbers, or at least a maintenance of your current numbers. These numbers are absolutely crucial to regulate because of the high risk of serious health complications that can and do occur. In fact, every 40 seconds, someone dies of a stroke. So what else can you do to prevent being a statistic if conventional suggestions and medications are not working?

Rox Coupler

The truth is, is that anyone can develop acute or chronic hypertension at any point in their lives. With a risk factor list as long as it is for hypertension, it means that throughout one’s life, different exposure to different risks can help or hinder your blood pressure journey. Currently, lifestyle modifications and medication therapy are only approved options to treat hypertension in the United States. There are clinical trials being conducted that may offer a device solution to managing uncontrolled hypertension. The ROX CONTROL HTN-2 is such a clinical trial and is now enrolling across the country.

The CONTROL HTN-2 clinical trial is designed to study the effectiveness of the ROX Coupler. The ROX Coupler is a dime-sized stent placed in the upper thigh, creating a small passageway from the artery to the vein. This allows a fixed amount of blood to flow between them. The minimally invasive catheter procedure to place the Coupler is called the ROX FLOW procedure.

Reducing your high blood pressure long term also reduces your risk of heart attack, cardiovascular disease or stroke is our unique and interventional procedure called the Rox Coupler.
We have started a clinical trial of the ROX Coupler here in the United States. To see if you are eligible to participate, click here. For more information about the success of the ROX Coupler in Europe, please see our latest press release.

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High Blood Pressure and Stroke: The Connection

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What do high blood pressure and stroke have in common?

Many people believe that high blood pressure only affects one’s heart, and that stroke solely exists as a response to stress on the brain. However, both of these ideas are misconceptions. While in some scenarios they could be true, one of the biggest and most overlooked causes of stroke is, in fact, high blood pressure. Often called the silent killer, high blood pressure does not only affect one’s heart but can lead to life-threatening conditions such as heart failure and stroke.

Reduce Your Risk of Death

Currently, over 75 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure, while over 54% of the Americans who are diagnosed do not have it under control, though they may think they do. If high blood pressure remains uncontrolled, the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and death greatly increase. As the heart has to work harder to pump blood in a person who is diagnosed with hypertension, one’s blood vessels to the brain can be damaged or weakened causing them to rupture or leak and ultimately cause a stroke.

Reducing your high blood pressure, even by a little at a time, can decrease your risk of death dramatically. For example, did you know that reducing your high blood pressure by 1mmHg reduces the risk of heart disease and death by 2%? Or, by reducing your high blood pressure by 15mmHg reduces the risk of heart disease and death by 30%?

Reducing your high blood pressure means more than the immediate gratifications of a healthier lifestyle, increased energy, and overall health. Reducing your high blood pressure is, in fact, a matter of life and death. Every 40 seconds, someone dies of stroke. Don’t allow yourself to be one of the victims.

Know Your Numbers

Called the silent killer, high blood pressure insidiously plagues many people without their awareness. When we equate high blood pressure with just anxiety, stress, and even poor eating habits, we only look at a small piece of the puzzle. More often than not, high blood pressure affects people without revealing any symptoms at all. Its silent existence can sneak up causing damage to the heart. resulting in more serious cardiovascular complications such as heart failure, heart attack, and stroke that can quickly lead to death.

The best way to get ahead of high blood pressure is to refrain from diagnosing yourself based on how you may be feeling but instead understand and know your numbers. The guidelines for high blood pressure have recently changed, and it’s important to understand your health in light of these new guidelines:

  • Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;
  • Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80;
  • Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89;
  • Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
  • Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.

Receiving regular checkups by your doctor is definitely a must in terms of making sure your blood pressure is under control. However, due to the silent nature of high blood pressure, we strongly recommend purchasing a medical grade high blood pressure monitor to use at home; the small investment will allow you to keep a record over time. Watching and knowing your numbers will be your best indicator for determining you are risk for stroke or sudden death.

Calculate Your Risk

Once you do know your numbers, it is actually possible to Calculate your risk for stroke or cardiovascular complications. Using this risk calculator will help determine if your blood pressure is, in fact, under control. While many Americans are diagnosed with high blood pressure and sometimes being treated by their doctor with multiple medications, their blood pressure remains uncontrolled. If you are on three or more medications, yet your high blood pressure and risk for further complications remain high, it may be time to inquire about alternative therapies to help control your high blood pressure to achieve a long-term solution.

We have developed a new and unique, interventional procedure intended to immediately lower and maintain blood pressure in patients unable to control their hypertension with conventional medications. We are currently in the clinical trial stage but have already seen the success of this procedure in reducing high blood pressure over a 12-month period. This equates to another year of life given back to a person suffering from hypertension.

We are currently accepting applications for our clinical trial. To see if you are eligible for participating in this groundbreaking solution, see our eligibility requirements here. Control your high blood pressure today and increase your chance at a stronger, longer life.

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Top Ten Myths Concerning High Blood Pressure

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Uncontrolled high blood pressure can be an issue of life and death. Often called the “silent killer”, hypertension can quickly spin out of control and in many cases is the leading cause of stroke. May is High Blood Pressure Education Month, and here at ROX Medical, we believe the best way to be aware is to know the facts about HBP.

While the phrase “high blood pressure” or “hypertension” may be phrases you have heard more than once, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding this medical condition. Knowing the difference between myths and facts regarding high blood pressure could potentially save your life or the life of someone you love.

In the medical field of hypertension, we always stress knowing your numbers, but we believe you must also know your facts. We have made a list of the top ten misconceptions when it comes to high blood pressure and supplied you with the truth, so you can pass this along to your friends and family to help keep them healthy!

Top Ten Myths Concerning High Blood Pressure

MYTH #1: If I only experience elevated blood pressure at the doctor’s office, a condition known as white-coat hypertension, there is no real reason to worry.
FACT: White-coat hypertension should not be dismissed. If white-coat hypertension increases your blood pressure, there is the likelihood that other stressors in your life will do so as well. Doctors suggest to monitor your blood pressure at home, and always get regular check-ups.

MYTH #2: High blood pressure has many symptoms that are easily recognized.
FACT: HBP has little to no symptoms, and is often called the silent killer. Getting regular check-ups is the only way to know if you are at risk.

MYTH #3: If you aren’t stressed out, you won’t have high blood pressure.
FACT: Anyone can develop HBP, no matter their stress level.

MYTH #4: As I take my blood pressure at home and the readings are lower, it’s ok to adjust the dose on my medications on my own.
FACT: It is essential to take your medications exactly as your doctor prescribes, and allow him or her to make any necessary adjustments.

MYTH #5: High blood pressure runs in my family, so there is nothing I can do to prevent it.
FACT: While genetics play a role in a HBP diagnosis, they are not the determining factor. You CAN prevent HBP.

MYTH #6: Diet doesn’t play a role in my high blood pressure.
FACT: Eating a healthy diet is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, too much sugar can increase the insulin your body produces. Most processed foods contain high levels of sugar and sodium.

MYTH #7: Reducing salt intake can cure my high blood pressure.
FACT: This along with other lifestyle modifications can contribute to lowering HBP. while there is no cure for hypertension there are steps you can take to reduce it.

MYTH #8: High blood pressure has many symptoms that are easily recognized.
FACT: HBP has little to no symptoms, and is often called the silent killer. Getting regular check-ups is the only way to know if you are at risk.

MYTH #9: I can only check my high blood pressure at the doctor’s office.
FACT: With a quality machine, it is possible and encouraged to check your HBP at home!

MYTH #10: I got my blood pressure checked a few years ago and since my diet, weight, and habits have not changed, I don’t need to get it checked again.
FACT: There are many contributing factors to high blood pressure and getting checked regularly at your yearly check-up is a good way to know if your blood pressure is staying within a healthy range.

We have developed an innovative interventional procedure designed to immediately, significantly lower and maintain blood pressure in patients with uncontrolled hypertension. If you have uncontrolled hypertension and take three or more medications, you may be eligible for our clinical trial.

Recent studies show that a person dies from a stroke every 40 seconds. Knowing the facts is crucial to be aware of the risk of high blood pressure, but taking steps to keep it under control can save your life. See if you are eligible for our clinical trial here.

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How the Rox Flow Procedure Works

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ROX® Medical has developed an implantable device and therapy intended to treat uncontrolled high blood pressure. Blood pressure reduction is achieved by diverting a small amount of blood flow from the arterial system into the venous system.

The ROX Coupler is a small stent-like device that is placed between the artery and vein located in the upper thigh. This allows for a fixed amount of blood to flow between them, known as an anastomosis. The Coupler is about the size of a dime and is easily placed using standard catheter techniques.

The minimally invasive catheter procedure to place the Coupler is called the ROX FLOW procedure. The ROX FLOW procedure is performed in an angiography suite or endovascular catheterization lab under only local anesthesia in about an hour. The ROX Coupler is intended for use in patients with uncontrolled hypertension and may lower blood pressure by shifting a modest amount of arterial blood to the venous system.

Watch the video to view the complete procedure.

ROX Medical is conducting the CONTROL HTN-2 clinical trial in the United States for hypertension (visit www.controlhtn2.com for more information). The ROX Medical Coupler is commercially available in Europe under CE mark.

CAUTION: The ROX® Medical Coupler is an investigational device. Limited by federal (or the United States) law to investigational use only.

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A New Way to Control High Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Disease

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National Heart Month is dedicated to spreading knowledge behind Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) because awareness is key. When we know the telltale signs of CVD, we can help ourselves and our loved ones prevent the sometimes deadly side effects from these conditions and seek the correct treatment if needed.

In our last blog post, we discussed who was at risk for CVD and what could be done about it. In addition, we discussed new therapy options for managing uncontrolled high blood pressure which is a leading contributor of Cardiovascular disease. But, all this talk about prevention and treatment begs the important question: Can high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease be controlled?

Chronic Conditions

As a leading cause of Cardiovascular conditions, High Blood Pressure (HBP) can be a lifelong and chronic condition. Chronic conditions are treated much differently than traumatic events in the medical world. Chronic treatment involves targeting the possible root causes of an issue, not simply addressing symptoms. Conditions like CVD and HBP, in order to be controlled, need to define a treatment targeted at the root cause of the issue. Lifelong treatment plans have great success in lengthening the life of the patient, as well as mitigating the negative effects of the specific condition.

For example, when concerning Cardiovascular disease, did you know that you can reduce your risk of death by 30% by addressing your high blood pressure? Studies show that with 1mmHG reduction of blood pressure, the relative risk of cardiovascular disease and death is reduced by 2%. So, reducing your blood pressure by 15mmHg could reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease or death by 30%! And all of this is because you are addressing high blood pressure.

Do Normal Protocols Control HBP?

However, addressing high blood pressure also comes with challenges. Normal protocols for high blood pressure suggest various forms of treatments:

  • Multiple medications
  • Daily exercise
  • Low sodium diet
  • Stress management

While the above protocols certainly address some of the daily pain and symptoms that can occur with high blood pressure, sometimes even with changes in lifestyle and adhering to your medication regime, you still may experience high blood pressure. Often times individuals are prescribed up to three or more medications yet still see their blood pressure readings too high. When this happens, a solution feels out of reach and individuals can feel hopeless and their quality of life decreases while their stress increases.

In order to manage uncontrolled high blood pressure, alternative and new therapies offered through a clinical trial may be the best next step.

Alternative Therapy: The Rox Coupler

At Rox Medical, we are pioneering an alternative therapy designed to manage uncontrolled high blood pressure with our CONTROL HTN-2 Clinical trial (link to clintrials.gov site).

The ROX Coupler therapy is a minimally invasive medical device procedure performed in an angiography suite or hybrid operating room. The procedure takes about an hour and is performed under local anesthesia. The ROX Coupler is placed between the artery and vein in the upper thigh to allow a fixed amount of blood to flow between them, known as an anastomosis. The minimally invasive catheter procedure to place the Coupler is called the ROX FLOW procedure.

The Rox Coupler procedure creates a passage (called an anastomosis) which allows high-pressured blood from the iliac artery to go into the lower-pressured iliac vein in your pelvis. By shifting a modest amount of arterial blood flow to the venous system, individuals with uncontrolled hypertension may contribute to the lowering the blood pressure.

Currently, we are accepting applications for those in the United States who may be eligible to participate in our clinical trial. Find out if you are eligible here.

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