Why monitoring Blood pressure?
Some experts call it the silent killer. High blood pressure ( hypertension) most often has no symptoms, so a significant number of people who have it might not realize it.
Untreated high blood pressure can damage organs over time and lead to stroke or heart disease. Because our pressure changes constantly depending on what we are doing, experts recommend people at risk or people who already have high blood pressure monitor it at home.
Blood pressure is the force of blood pressing on the walls of our arteries as it flows through the body. It is measured in two numbers, the higher one being the systolic pressure. This is the pressure when the heart beats and fills the arteries with blood. The diastolic pressure (the lower one) is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest between beats.
Normal numbers vary from person to person and within the same person depending on the situation. A pressure of 120 over 80 is often considered normal for a healthy adult, but since there are many factors to take into account, speak with your doctor about what is normal for you.
The reading the doctor gets in the office is just capturing one moment and may be influenced by a phenomenon called white-coat hypertension. My normal pressure runs very low, but every time I go for my oncology checkup, it is elevated. Gee - wonder why?
By monitoring BP at home on a regular basis, we become actively involved in our own care, can track progress, and know instantly if our blood pressure medications are effective.
There are many different home blood pressure monitors. The easiest to use is one with a cuff that slips onto the upper arm, automatically inflates and provides a digital read-out. The most important factor is that the cuff must fit properly to ensure an accurate measurement. The inflatable part should encircle at least 80 percent of the arm. The display should be easy to read.