… And show your BP who’s The Boss!!
High Blood Pressure, or Hypertension, is commonly referred to as “the Silent Killer” because it usually presents no real symptoms, and yet if left unchecked over time can cause serious damage within the body, with increased risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.
Thankfully, we do not have to be the unwitting victims in this scenario. One way of taking back control is as simple as learning how to take your blood pressure at home!! So in my post today I am going to go over what you will need for this procedure in terms of equipment. I also hope to offer you some handy tips to help ensure that the technique you are using, and the results you are getting, are reliable.
Why Take Your Blood Pressure (BP) At Home?
Many of us, if we are not actively monitoring our BP, will likely only come across a blood pressure machine at the Doctor’s Office, or perhaps at the Hospital or Emergency Clinic. However, due to a common response know as “White Collar Hypertension” the readings obtained at these places can often be inaccurate and artificially elevated. This is a result of the involuntary apprehension or anxiety being experienced at the time the readings are being taken.
On the other hand blood pressure measurements taken in the relaxing atmosphere of the home are going to be more accurate and provide a more complete picture of what is happening. Also studies have shown that self-monitoring in the home tends to lead to earlier detection of and treatment of hypertension.
What Equipment do I need?
There are a large variety of BP monitoring devices out there, including newer wireless models. The Omron10 Wireless Upper Arm BP Monitor is one such model which, although admittedly a bit pricier than others which can do the job, is the one model preferred by clinical specialists.
The brand and model I like, and have been using for several years now, is the Life Source model UA-767 Plus.
- Large easy to read display
- Stores results of up to 30 readings in memory
- Shows average BP of all those results stored in memory
- Still provides a reading (and also indicates) even if an irregular heart beat is present
- Can be used with batteries or A/C adapter
NB: Life Source blood pressure devices are also available in the United States. The FDA sometimes also puts endorsement to certain blood pressure monitors. For example specific Omron blood pressure monitors have received endorsement from the FDA. However, in general most reputable manufacturers make an effort to meet the standards of that particular market before attempting to sell a device. And this is true of the Life Source Brand of BP digital monitors.
Things to Keep in Mind
the Cuff Size is essential. (See the insert table for cuff sizes available below.)
- Unless otherwise directed by a health care specialist, the cuff should always be placed on the left arm, not the right.
- Do not place the cuff on too tightly. You should be able to comfortably place two fingers between the cuff and your arm before you turn on the machine.
- Establish a Baseline Measurement. This is achieved by monitoring your BP consistently over a two week period. The KEY is consistency here – that means at the same time each day, same location and using the same cuff. Once you have a baseline foundation you will be easily able to evaluate whether future measurements may be affected by factors such as lifestyle changes, treatments with supplements or natural foods, or even with medications – if that is necessary.
Keys to Successful Monitoring:
Since blood pressure does in fact fluctuate throughout the day (see simulated chart below), the following will help assure reliable readings:
- Measure at the same time each day
- Sit in the same chair/position
- Keep feet flat on floor and avoid crossing legs
- Relax for 5 minutes before taking the measurement
- Sit still during measuring – no talking, eating or sudden movement
- Record in a Log Book for handy reference later.
So, with a small initial expenditure for the blood pressure monitoring device, and the approach I have outlined above, it is possible to stay on top of any blood pressure issues which may be developing.
This awareness is the first step towards being able to formulate a plan to help manage your BP using natural alternatives and solutions. Why wait until your Doctor decides what medications are best for your health based on what could be misleading blood pressure readings taken at his Office? Instead you take your records to him and show him what’s really happening with your blood pressure!
As always I welcome your comments and feedback below. Please let me know, too, if there are any other posts you would like to see which could help you keep your blood pressure issues under control.