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High Blood Pressure Control Crucial, Says Patient


Published: 08/13/2015

by David Ferrer

“Hypertension is called a silent disease because most people don't feel sick,” said Mr. Dirkx. “But I would just say to people, please don't wait. Find out what works for you and get it under control.”

When Jay Dirkx of El Paso, Texas was diagnosed with high blood pressure at the age of 35, it wasn't a complete surprise. Though generally symptomless, Jay's strong family history with the disease meant it was something he kept a close eye on – and something he was determined to keep in check.

He made quick and lasting changes to his diet and exercise regimen, and also needed medication to bring his blood pressure numbers down. Yet he still struggled with control, and when the number of prescriptions climbed, he says side effects also started to have an impact.

“I was so young, and I knew I would be working to keep this under control for the rest of my life,” said Mr. Dirkx. “I needed to find more options.”

Listening to his car radio one day, he was intrigued when he heard about a new tool, called the Zona Plus, that guided patients through a different kind of exercise, called isometric handgrip therapy. Studies had shown that these hand flexing exercises could help lower blood pressure by 10 per cent in six to eight weeks; but a safe and effective program required guidance to avoid over – or under – doing it.

The Zona Plus, a small, handheld computer shaped like a joystick and featuring a computerized screen with easy-to-follow prompts, provided Mr. Dirkx with a personalized, 12 minutes per day/five days per week program of isometric handgrip therapy, based on his unique physiology and needs. It also showed his progress over time, and made adjustments to his routine based on changing requirements.

Six years later, he's still using it. Mr. Dirkx attributes the addition of isometric handgrip therapy as turning point in his on-going mission to control his blood pressure.

“I was already on medication, had already changed my diet and I was already exercising, so those things remained constant,” said Mr. Dirkx. “When I added in isometric handgrip therapy, I found the combination that really worked for me.”

The makers of Zona Plus, which recently became available in Canada, sell the product directly to consumers via their website,, through, or by calling 1-866-789-9662.

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