You’ve made that very pivotal decision of monitoring your blood pressure at home. You probably don’t realize it at the moment but that is a huge step towards managing your health and taking care of yourself – not to mention that it’s good for your heart as well. However, the question at this stage is how to effectively monitor it regularly?
For instance when should you actually check it and how often, what factors would affect the results you receive and more. These are all very good questions. So, here’s some help with all of the questions you might have about checking your blood pressure at home and the benefits it comes with.
When is the best time to take your blood pressure?
It’s important to realize that our blood pressure will fluctuate throughout the day. A good idea at this point might be to track your own blood pressure at different times of the day. When you start monitoring it at home, in the beginning just to form a pattern later on, check it at least five times a day. Remember that once you do settle on a routine and set a pattern for yourself, you would’ve already established a pattern and have gained a much better understanding of the reading that pops up. At this point it’s recommended that you bring it down to twice a day, but keep consistent with the timings.
Note that you will need to change your lifestyle big time, if it has already been established that you suffer from high blood pressure – measure them at the same time each day. There are benefits to this approach, first off it provides a consistent set of readings and thus, is less affected by other factors. Another advantage is that it means you won’t end up changing your medicines or the intake which you are currently on.
So – what times are optimum?
We’d say get in the habit of checking your blood pressure once in the morning and once before you go to bed. This is generally a benchmarked good practice. For a reading during the morning don’t take it immediately after you wake up. However, you should take a reading before your morning coffee or breakfast.
What if you’re taking medication?
If you are a high blood pressure patient and are already taking medication for it, it’s important to note that your blood pressure measurements will need to coincide with your dosage. So, in this scenario you should take a reading before you take your blood pressure medication. Why? Well it is at this time of the day when the level of medication in your body will be at its lowest. In medical terms, this is called the trough value – taking a reading before your next intake of medicine will actually tell you if the medication is working or not.
Also, it comes back to your lifestyle choices as well – this is an important variable. For instance if at any time during the day you are facing symptoms of high blood pressure, it might be a good idea to immediately take a reading. Of course if you face this regularly or if for instance the symptoms are of severe nature you need to go and see your doctor for further assistance. There are a lot of indicators of symptoms related to high blood pressure, for instance fatigue, irregular heartbeat, chest pains and the like.
Noting your blood pressure during these instances helps you in determining if they are the cause of your particular ailment. It might also be possible that taking in too much medication during these times has lowered your blood pressure beyond the limit. In this case a reading will help you in adjusting your medication accordingly.
Which kind of blood pressure monitor should you choose?
Since you are now committed towards taking better care of yourself by taking regular readings at home, it’s important to choose a viable blood pressure monitor. Not all devices are created equal!
We’d recommend you choose an FDA approved machine, once selected it is a good idea to even take it to your doctor’s office and take a reading in front of your physician at least once. Once done, ask them to take a reading with their clinics machine and compare the both to check of your machine is accurate enough or not. Most FDA approved machines are easy to use and these days with the advancement of technology in medicine are digital – so taking a reading at home even is easy.
The benefits of checking your blood pressure at home include you being more conscious of your health. It will allow you to set a pattern of taking medication and checking your blood pressure that actually works for you. Knowing how to check your own blood pressure will also help prevent making visits to the clinic. Your body reacting to the stress of the doctor’s clinic can also alter the results. So, feeling relaxed and checking your blood pressure at home makes for more accurate readings. It also allows you to check your blood pressure between your appointed checkups with the doctor for better monitoring of your health.