Blood Pressure Monitoring for Heart Happy Health
Getting your blood pressure (BP) checked regularly is an essential part of keeping your health in line, as having high blood pressure (HBP) can lead to a myriad of health complications like stroke and heart disease.
Do you get nervous when you go to the doctor’s? Do you fear getting your blood pressure taken because you know the anxiety of just being in that office will raise your BP?
This is actually quite normal and is called white coat hypertension (or more commonly, white coat syndrome), and occurs when your in-office BP is higher than your out-of-office BP. Because of these inconsistent BP readings and the realistic health necessity to control BP, there has been a rise in the use of at-home BP monitoring.
At-home BP monitoring devices may be ideal for anyone, especially those who don’t love visiting the Doctor’s office, as they allow you to avoid face-to-face interactions and puts your health in your hands. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) is an at-home monitor which periodically records your BP over a 24-48 hour time period, and home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM) is when you monitor your BP at home over a consecutive few days.
Understanding Blood Pressure Measurements
Before we get further into the home BP monitoring devices, let’s ensure you know how to read your BP accurately. If you’re putting your health into your own hands, then you must understand what it all means!
Blood pressure can be divided into two classes: Systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Systolic BP is the first number in the reading, indicating the amount of pressure your blood exerts against the artery walls when your heart beats. Diastolic BP is the second number, indicating how much pressure your blood exerts against the artery walls when your heart is resting.
Whether it’s at home or in the doctor’s office, it’s vital to regularly get your BP checked. We understand that the fear of what the results may say can raise your BP in itself, but being aware of your measurements is essential to staying healthy.
Getting your blood pressure screened annually is important as early detection and treatment can make drastic differences in your health. Studies have shown that treatment of prehypertension (blood pressure that is higher than normal but not high enough to be considered hypertension), is possible with HBP medicines. Early treatment of HBP has been shown to significantly decrease the risk of stroke and other heart conditions from occurring.
Approximately 750,000 adults in the U.S. experience a stroke every year, and 25% of them are recurrent strokes. There is a 22% mortality rate for a first time stroke, as opposed to a 41% mortality rate for a recurrent stroke. How is this relevant to BP? Simple, 70% of stroke victims have hypertension, and the risk of a recurrent stroke only increases if the person has hypertension.
Hypertension is common among people with chronic conditions, especially those with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). It is estimated that between 67-92% of people with CKD also have hypertension, so it is especially imperative for people with chronic conditions to get screened annually and begin treatment as soon as possible.
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