We are living in a rapidly evolving world with a dynamic lifestyle. As a result, newer diseases are emerging as well as existing diseases such as hypertension are becoming more prevalent. The theme of World Hypertension Day 2023 is “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer”. By improving the accuracy of Blood Pressure (BP) measurement methods, appropriate corrective action can be taken. As hypertension has no cure, it is essential to develop technologies for early diagnosis and take precautionary measures.
SciTech Patent Art is a technology research firm and we wanted to explore emerging technologies related to measurement of BP. So, on the occasion of World Hypertension Day, we discuss various approaches to diagnose and manage hypertension.
Currently, research efforts are being directed toward the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) for diagnosis, measurement, and prognosis of BP along with treatment recommendations. It is anticipated that the accuracy of results will improve as such studies continue. The lion’s share of the research funding today is directed towards hardware or devices for measuring hypertension.
Although there are wearable devices in the health care industry for the measurement of hypertension, there have been studies that question the accuracy of BP measurement at the wrist and argue that upper arm measurements are more accurate.
The Japanese company Omron Technologies has developed a novel product for monitoring
BP in real time, as opposed to the conventional mercury and electric sphygmomanometers currently in use. It is a wristwatch style device called Omron HeartGuide™ that measures the BP from the radial blood vessels at the wrist. The patent JP6772057B2 deals with a novel wristwatch type BP monitor that provides a beat-to-beat heart rate dependent measurement and display which can be further coupled with an alert mechanism. The device addresses the problem of cuff compatibility by ensuring that the whole wrist is covered by the strap and by measuring BP at the dorsal wrist (knuckle side).
Biospectal, a Switzerland based company founded in 2017, has developed an app called OptiBP. The alpha-launch of Biospectal OptiBP iOS took place at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona 2021. The Biospectal OptiBP app uses the camera on a smartphone which records a user’s blood flow through the fingertip. A measurement can be obtained in roughly 20 seconds, which is half as long as with a traditional BP cuff. The optical signal capture techniques and unique algorithms developed by Biospectal then convert the data into BP readings. A user’s clinician can easily access the BP data to support management and treatment of hypertension. Biospectal is currently available in the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland.
The use of biomarkers in medical diagnosis is another emerging trend. A well-known hypertension biomarker that significantly affects the regulation of BP is aldosterone. Patients suffering from subclinical hypercortisolism have elevated BP as a result of elevated plasma aldosterone levels. A person with increased levels of aldosterone may have hypertension.
On the therapeutic side, one of the newest drugs to combat hypertension, is the Sotatercept, from Acceleron Pharma, a US biopharmaceutical company acquired by Merck & Co. in 2021. Sotatercept is a new fusion protein involved in imbalance of activin–growth differentiation factor and BMP pathway signaling. The treatment with Sotatercept results in reduced pulmonary vascular resistance in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Acceleron Pharma has a licensing agreement for Sotatercept with Bristol Myers Squibb.
High BP increases the risk of stroke. It is also known to cause anxiety, depression and stress. These may make the hypertension afflicted person act out based on emotions which may prove to be harmful to both the person affected and those around him. Studies conducted on mental illness caused by hypertension show that a significant amount of stress can be mitigated by experiencing a positive social environment.
Brands like Nestle and Mondelez have been developing products that address problems related to hypertension. These companies have started to reduce the salt and oil content in their products. PepsiCo, which manufactures Lays potato chips has already reduced the sodium content in its products and is developing healthier snacks made of corn or multigrain.
Mankind has reached a point where it is possible to continue living normally in spite of potentially fatal ailments with the aid of medicines and a healthy lifestyle, hypertension being one among them. Hence, spreading awareness about hypertension can save many lives.
Laxmi Prasanna Sunkari