High blood pressure is not known as the silent killer for nothing!
Although it can be a primary cause of heart disease, heart attack and stroke, it does not usually produce any symptoms that are easy to spot with the naked eye. for more information about what constitutes high blood pressure readings please refer to this related article on blood pressure terminology.
Historically, high blood pressure has been initially diagnosed in people aged in their late forties, early fifties or sixties. However due to the pressure of modern living, stress, lack of exercise and diets that are high in saturated fat, the age at which raised blood pressure starts to appear has been falling steadily. In some cases the problem is so severe that young people who are addicted to high fat fast food diets, TV and video games from an early age, have been developing high blood pressure in their twenties and thirties. If you are concerned about your heart health then you may wish to start monitoring your blood pressure at home on a regular basis, in consultation with your doctor. This is very important as you should never try to interpret the results yourself, or become your own ‘physician’.
There are several advantages to the concept of home blood pressure monitoring:
- Blood pressure varies naturally throughout the day
- Most people don’t visit their doctor just to get their blood pressure checked
- When you do visit the doctor’s office to have your blood pressure checked it is a one-off reading, a snapshot in time
- The act of visiting the doctor in itself can adversely affect your actual blood pressure reading
- Home blood pressure monitoring equipment has improved greatly in recent years
- Home monitoring allows you to take multiple readings each day to give a more accurate result in a relaxed environment
- Home monitoring allows you to spot an early rising trend in your BP before it becomes a severe problem
- If you identify a rising BP over several months you can take remedial action in conjunction with your doctor.
How often should you take blood pressure readings?
There is no fixed rule about this, but you may consider taking two or three readings per day. You should take your blood pressure readings at the same time each day, and keep a daily log of the results. This is important to identify long term trends and will help your doctor to understand more about your condition should you identify a potential problem.
What type of blood pressure monitor should I buy?
We prefer the type of blood pressure monitor that has a cuff that attaches to the upper part of the arm, inflates itself automatically, and quickly shows the result on a digital display.
There are so many different varieties of this type of consumer blood pressure monitors available that the choice can be overwhelming. Our recommendation is that you use an Omron automatic blood pressure monitor. This company has been around for many years and has a solid reputation for producing accurate and reliable instruments. The automatic inflation type makes the process very simple and easy to use.