Road to 100 — Hypertension & Aging in Mexico

Brian Lenahan
5 min readMar 16, 2021

How Hypertension Is Being Addressed to Help Mexican Employees in the Workplace

Ever wonder if the blood pressure readings you or your doctor take have an impact on how long you’ll live? If it does, is it reversible? Can high blood pressure reveal anything about your longevity? If so, is there a formula to “normalize” your blood pressure?

Walk into any pharmacy, sidle up to the blood pressure monitor, slip in your arm, press the button and what will you find the next time your blood pressure results appear? Over the 120 systolic/80 diastolic norm? You would not be alone. According to the American Heart Association (AHA) “the lifetime risk of high blood pressure from age 20 to 85 is between 69 and 86 percent.”

Earlier this year, my colleague Eduardo Serna-Barragan, CEO and Founder of Cardiotrack, a Canadian-based medtech company with extensive expertise in blood pressure data collection, collaborated with me to write an article on the global hypertension struggle. The statistics are frightening. In fact, some countries, like Mexico, a country of 130 million inhabitants, experience population-wide impacts.

The Mexican Experience

So, what is the Mexican experience with hypertension? First let’s take a look at life expectancy. Citizens of Mexico, on average, live 74.8 years as of 2020, versus the United Nations estimate of a global average life expectancy of 72.8 years. Japan, with the highest at 85 years on average. Mexico’s better than average life expectancy still falls short, by 11 years, that of top-ranked Japan.

The authors of the 2019 research paper ‘Hypertension as a persistent public health problem. A position paper from Alliance for a Healthy Heart, Mexico’ concluded that “Hypertension has become the biggest challenge of noncommunicable chronic diseases to public health in Mexico. Around 30% of adult Mexican population has hypertension; 75% of them have less than 54 years old (in productive age); 40% of them are unaware but only 50% of aware hypertensive population takes drugs and, 50% of them are controlled…”

What about in the Mexican workplace? The Mexican government amended the Federal Labor Law in 2012 (with many subsequent amendments) through the “Federal Regulation of Health and Safety at Work”. Intended to define and implement workplace health and safety provisions, the regulation seeks to “prevent risks, and as a consequence, guarantee employees their right to perform their activities in an environment that assures their lives and health…”. While worker productivity impacted negatively by hypertension is one of any companies’ key considerations, the legislation is directed squarely at the health and welfare of the employee.

The Focus on the Human Factor

Sustainable organizations must take into account human sustainability, according to Jeffrey Pfeffer, Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford University. Pfeffer is a renown expert on workplace stressors which can result in hypertension, diabetes and depression. For example, Pfeffer commented that “High job demands that people cannot control, because they have little or no discretion over the pace and content of their work, coupled with work that is socially isolating, produce job stress.”

One contributor to a sustainable workplace implementation is Serna-Barragan’s group of occupational health companies under the Grupo Seara umbrella — six companies in operation in Mexico with more than 900 employees serving more than 900,000 people through approximately 450 clients. In the last two years, the group has automated the blood pressure taking process, collecting extensive data, now including weight, height, temperature measurements under the same system. The group’s devices are used by many companies around the world.

Recently expanding into the North American market, one group member, Cardiotrack, engaged me to develop their AI strategy to optimize their data capabilities to more proactively fight in the struggle against hypertension and productivity challenges in the workplace and in society in general. By focusing on preventing individuals from entering the hypertension zone, and informing those in the hypertension zone, individuals time away from work whether to stay home or visit their doctor reduces. Companies who value their employees beyond their productivity, especially in Mexico, benefit from these insights into hypertension and into how they can then put programs in place to support their employees.

Working Life

So, let’s return to the question we challenged ourselves with at the beginning of this article. Can high blood pressure reveal anything about your longevity? Of course. As one ages, the prevalence of arterial stiffening and hypertensionincreases. Compound aging with stress at work. The average person spends as much as 90,000 hours or a third of their lifetime at work. In 2019 in the European Union, the expected duration of working life was 35.9 years, over 3 years longer than in the year 2000. If that time is spent at work under stress, not simply situational or temporary stress but sustained, chronic stress, this may lead to hypertension. During those chronic stress periods one can alter their exercise and eating patterns for the worse (comfort food and “relaxing after a long day”) exacerbating high blood pressure.

Are we doomed to live a life with hypertension? Not in all cases. Monitoring one’s blood pressure regularly (and many other physiological indicators as mentioned in my book “Deep Health: Using Artificial Intelligence to Live Longer & Healthier”), frequently engaging in physical activity, consuming healthier foods, and finding ways to manage stress are all contributors to improved blood pressure measurements.

Conclusion

This series focuses on the Road to 100 — how you the reader can do the right things for you to live a longer healthier life. My book, “Deep Health: Using Artificial Intelligence to Live Longer and Healthier” is one such way. Benefitting from monitoring your blood pressure and taking the necessary steps can also assist on that incredible journey to 100 years young.

Copyright 2020, 2021 Aquitaine Innovation Advisors

To Learn More:

If you would like to learn more about successfully navigating the digital health world and embedding the technology into your own health regimen, look for “Deep Health: Using Artificial Intelligence to Live Longer & Healthieron Amazon, check out what Cardiotrack offers or see our contact information below.

#digitalhealth #ai #artificialintelligence #healthcare #healthtechnology #fitnesstechnology

Brian Lenahan is the author of four Amazon-published books on artificial intelligence including the Bestseller “Artificial Intelligence: Foundations for Business Leaders and Consultants”. He is a former executive in a Top 10 North American bank, a University Instructor, and mentors innovative companies in the Halton and Hamilton areas. Brian’s training in AI comes from MIT and he writes extensively on artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

Email: ceo@aquitaineinnovationadvisors.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-lenahan-innovation/

Aquitaine Innovation Advisors: www.aquitaineinnovationadvisors.com

Sources:

Alcocer L, Álvarez-López H, Borrayo-Sánchez GB, Cardona-Muñoz EG, Chávez-Mendoza A, et al. Hypertension as a persistent public health problem. A position paper from Alliance for a Healthy Heart, Mexico. Ann Clin Hypertens. 2019; 3: 009–030. DOI: 10.29328/journal.ach.1001015are already are, get them in control of their measurements.

Pfeffer, Jeffrey, 2010/02/01 Building Sustainable Organizations: The Human Factor

10.2139/ssrn.1545977, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business, Research Papers

Teng A, Taylor Z, Pfeffer J, Williams LM. Using longitudinal prescription data to examine the incidence of other chronic diseases following antidepressant use. J Psychiatr Res. 2020 Jun;125:7–12. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2020.02.030. Epub 2020 Mar 6. PMID: 32171110.

Spruill T. M. (2010). Chronic psychosocial stress and hypertension. Current hypertension reports, 12(1), 10–16. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11906-009-0084-8

Zhongjie Sun (2014). Aging, Arterial Stiffness, and Hypertension https://doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.03617Hypertension. 2015;65:252–256

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Brian Lenahan

Brian Lenahan, former executive, advanced tech consultant, author of four Amazon-published books on AI and the author of the upcoming book “Quantum Boost”