Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home

Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home

Most people with high blood pressure have no symptoms at all. There are no specific warning signs. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is through regular monitoring.

By UGPulse
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First published: August 30, 2005

What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the force exerted on the walls of your blood vessels (artery) as blood flows through them.

Your heart is like a pump. When it contracts, or beats, it sends a surge of blood through the blood vessels and pressure increases. This is called systolic pressure.

When your heart relaxes between beats, your blood pressure decreases. This is called diastolic pressure.

Normal blood pressure falls within a range it's not one set of numbers. But if you're an adult, it should be less than 140/90 mmHg. If you have diabetes, renal insufficiency or heart failure, your doctor will want it to be no higher than 130/85 mmHg. If your blood pressure goes above this threshold and stays there, you have high blood pressure.

Blood Pressure Measurement

When a doctor takes your blood pressure, he or she measures both your systolic and diastolic pressures and records them as numbers. For example, if your blood pressure is reading 126/76 (126 over 76), your systolic is 126 and your diastolic is 76. The numbers are calculated in millimeters of mercury and recorded as 126/76 mmHg.

The two numbers provide important information about your health. The more difficult it is for your blood to flow through your blood vessels, the higher both numbers will be. When pressure is consistently above normal it is called hypertension (high blood pressure).

About Blood Pressure

The 6th report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNCVI) from the National Institutes of Health developed the following classification. However, it is only a general guideline because blood pressure depends on our age, morbidity, and treatment strategy by a physician. CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN TO DETERMINE YOUR NORMAL BLOOD PRESSURE.

What does high blood pressure do to your body?

High blood pressure adds to the workload of the heart and arteries. The heart must pump with more force, and the arteries must carry blood that is moving under greater pressure. If this high blood pressure continues for a long time, the heart and the arteries may not function as well as they would and other body organs may also be affected. There is increased risk of stroke, heart failure, kidney failure and heart attack.

What can you do about High Blood Pressure?

If you have high blood pressure, you can do a lot to reduce it. Work with your doctor to determine the best treatment for you. It may include a low-fat diet, a low-salt diet, and changes in your living habits such as quitting smoking, losing weight and getting more exercise. Reducing your alcohol intake may be recommended. Many medicines also can help reduce and control high blood pressure. Your doctor will decide whether you need medicine in addition to dietary and lifestyle changes.

High blood pressure is a lifelong disease. It can be controlled but not cured. Once you begin to manage it and start a treatment program, maintaining a lower blood pressure is easier. By controlling your high blood pressure, you'll lower your risk of diseases like stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease.
You can do it!

Blood Pressure Q & A

Why is the doctor's reading different from the reading taken at home?

Blood pressure can vary due to exercise or the environment (temperature, nervous condition). Particularly when measured at the doctor's office, it is possible for blood pressure to increase over readings taken at home due to anxiety and tension. It is important to know your regular, relaxed blood pressure by measuring at home.

The blood pressure reading is always different

Your blood pressure changes constantly. Blood pressure fluctuates from day to day and minute to minute according to your body's needs. For example, when you are exercising or angry your blood pressure increases, but when you are relaxed or sleeping your blood pressure decreases. These fluctuations are completely normal.

How important is it to monitor blood pressure at home?

One or two readings will not provide a true indication of your normal blood pressure. It is important to take regular, daily measurements and to keep accurate records. In partnership with your doctor, an accurate record of your blood pressure over time can be a valuable aid in diagnosing and preventing potential health problems.

By UGPulse
more from author >>
First published: August 30, 2005
The material in this article was extracted from a publication of OMRON HEALTHCARE, INC.. UGPulse does not give medical advice. You should seek that from your doctor.