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Do you know your blood pressure?
last updated:
Fri, 1/11/2013 2:02 PM
There are benefits to monitoring your blood pressure from home. 

blood pressure monitorChecking your blood pressure at home is an important part of managing high blood pressure (hypertension). The American Heart Association and other organizations recommend anyone who has high blood pressure monitor his or her blood pressure at home.  Here are a few of the benefits to home monitoring from the staff at Mayo Clinic

Home monitoring can:

  • Help you keep tabs on your blood pressure in a familiar setting.
  • Make certain your medication is working.
  • Alert you and your doctors to potential health complications.

 

Because blood pressure monitors are available without a prescription, home monitoring is an easy step you can take to improve your condition. Before you get started, it's important to know the right technique and to find a good home blood pressure monitor.

Why do I need to monitor my blood pressure at home?

Monitoring your blood pressure at home offers several benefits. It can:

  1. Help make an early diagnosis of high blood pressure. If you have prehypertension or another condition that could contribute to high blood pressure, such as diabetes or kidney problems, home blood pressure monitoring could help your doctor diagnose high blood pressure earlier than if you have only infrequent blood pressure readings in the doctor's office.
  2. Help track your treatment. Home blood pressure monitoring can help people of all ages keep track of their condition—including children and teenagers who have high blood pressure. Self-monitoring provides important information between visits to your doctor. The only way to know whether your lifestyle changes or your medications are working is to check your blood pressure regularly. Keeping track of changes can help you and your health care team make decisions about your ongoing treatment, such as adjusting dosages or changing medications.
  3. Encourage better control. Taking your own blood pressure measurements can result in better blood pressure control. You gain a stronger sense of responsibility for your health, and you may be even more motivated to control your blood pressure with an improved diet, physical activity and proper medication use.
  4. Cut your health care costs. Home monitoring may cut down on the number of visits you need to make to your doctor or clinic. This can reduce your overall health care costs, lower your travel expenses and save in lost wages.
  5. Check if your blood pressure is different outside the doctor's office. Your doctor may suspect that your blood pressure goes up due to the anxiety associated with being at the doctor's office, but is otherwise normal—a condition called “white-coat hypertension.” Monitoring blood pressure at home or work, where that kind of anxiety won't cause spikes, can help determine if you have true high blood pressure or simply white coat hypertension. Home and workplace monitoring may also help when the opposite occurs—your blood pressure seems fine at the doctor's office, but is elevated elsewhere. This kind of high blood pressure, sometimes called “masked hypertension,” is more common in women and those who have cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity, high blood cholesterol and high blood sugar. 
Not everyone can track blood pressure at home. If you have an irregular heartbeat, home blood pressure monitors might not give you an accurate reading. In some cases, the type of monitor you use could depend on your physical condition. If you're overweight or very muscular, you'll need to find a monitor with a larger arm cuff. If you have hearing loss, a monitor with a digital display may be more suitable.

For your convenience, Methodist Healthcare offers several options of home blood pressure monitoring devices to choose on the Home Medical Equipment Online Store. These lightweight blood pressure monitors fit comfortably on the wrist and feature a 60-reading memory storage.  The monitors are able to compute the average of the last 3 readings taken. 

This information is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

Sources: 



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