Often called the silent killer, high blood pressure may not reveal itself for quite a long time. People may not feel sick at all until the day when they get an unpleasant diagnosis. Doctors agree that the importance of regular blood pressure monitoring is hard to overestimate regardless of whether it’s your first time to have high readings or just the most recent of many of them. Here is why and how to track your blood pressure and stay healthy.
What is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure (or hypertension) occurs when the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels is consistently too high. In short, HBP significantly increases the workload of the heart and blood vessels that can’t work properly and efficiently, causing serious damage to your health. While heart attack and stroke are the most common consequences of HBP, the list of life-threatening conditions triggered by this quiet enemy is far more extensive.
Why Track Your Blood Pressure
Despite what you may think, there is an array of reasons to check your blood pressure regularly and meticulously write down all the readings.
- Help your doctor diagnose HBP early – according to numerous studies, blood pressure readings at the doctor’s office may vary greatly from those done in the comfort of your own place. Oh yes, a lot of people still feel anxious about white coats and show inaccurate numbers. That is why it is important to monitor your blood pressure at home, taking at least two measurements a day, usually in the morning and in the evening. Such self-monitoring allows you to recognize certain patterns and detect potentially dangerous changes, hence your doctor has more chances to diagnose you with HBP earlier than it would possible if you only measure it occasionally. In addition to that, this journal is precious if you already have any condition (diabetes or problems with kidneys, for example) able to give a boost to high blood pressure.
- Help keep track of your treatment – your doctor might be the best in the world, but every patient is unique, hence only you can tell him whether medications are really working. Make sure you follow your doctor’s advice and have blood pressure readings as frequently as necessary to provide him with the information he needs to adjust the dosage or even change medications. Just a heads up, never skip a dose to see what would happen with readings, it is not the right way to check the quality of your treatment.
- Minimize your healthcare costs – quite simply, you have to pay every time you see your doctor, even if it’s just about having your blood pressure readings. Plus, keeping track of your BP will make you feel more responsible for your health and give you strong motivation to change your lifestyle and introduce healthy eating habits and regular physical activity.
How to Track Your Blood Pressure
Thanks to a plethora of BP monitors available in the market, keeping track of your blood pressure has never been easier and less time-consuming. According to experts from FitBug.com, there are two main types of at-home BP monitors and both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Analog devices are more accurate, but also more complicated to use while their digital counterparts are 100% user-friendly and often equipped with advantageous extra features.
No matter what type of sophisticated device you choose, the proper use is essential if you want to be sure the readings are correct. Here you have it: several tips to ensure accurate blood pressure monitoring at home.
- Before starting to use your device, check its accuracy at your doctor’s office. Also, measure your pressure yourself and ask your doc to see if you do everything properly.
- Do not drink coffee or alcohol before making a measurement. Do not take readings at least half an hour after physical activity.
- It’s not a good idea to measure blood pressure right after you wake up. Give your body at least 30 minutes to start working normally.
- Take a proper position, sit quietly, and breathe normally during monitoring. To prepare yourself for the measurement, always wait a couple of minutes to relax before switching on the device. Stay calm, do not talk to others, and do not think about problems or stressful things.
- Make sure your arm is positioned correctly, which means it should be raised almost to the level of your heart. Follow the manual you got with your device to facilitate the most accurate readings.
- Always place the cuff on bare skin, if you wear long sleeves, slip out your arm instead of rolling up the sleeve.
As you can see, tracking your blood pressure is an easy way to avoid serious health risks related to high blood pressure. Regardless of the device you chose, be consistent with taking readings, and enjoy a happier and healthier life!