Importance of Regular Blood Pressure Monitoring
As a young adult and throughout my twenties, I never thought twice about measuring my blood pressure. To be honest, I didn’t even know how my blood pressure effected my body or what the measurement really meant. I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what a good and bad blood pressure was or even what my numbers typically were. All I knew was that every time I went to the doctor’s for a routine check up, they placed something around my arm that inflated and squeezed it tightly.
But that was really all that I knew.
It wasn’t until I went in for a physical exam at 32 that the doctor brought something up that had never crossed my mind. He explained that my blood pressure was unusually high for someone my age, especially considering I’d had normal levels in years past. He asked what my family’s history was concerning heart disease and if anyone had had a stroke or heart attack. I knew that my immediate family members had not suffered from any of these conditions, but after sending my mom a quick text asking, she let me know that my grandmother actually had had a small stroke when I was very young.
Facing the Facts
As it turns out, high blood pressure can be genetic. Many of us don’t know each and every member of our family’s medical histories, so conditions like high blood pressure or high cholesterol often go undetected. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is sometimes known as the “silent killer” because of just that. People simply do not know that they are experiencing abnormal blood pressure levels because there just aren’t any symptoms.
Symptoms or not, the consequences can be extremely damaging to the rest of the body and can result in death. Some of the many effects linked to high blood pressure include, heart disease, stroke, heart attacks, loss of vision, kidney disease or failure, fatigue and pain in the stomach, head or limbs.
Understanding the symptoms of hypertension is one way that you can try to prevent a more serious consequence of high blood pressure from occurring. Dizziness and a flushed face can be warning signs to look out for. Regular exercise, low stress levels and healthy eating are other preventative measures you can take against high blood pressure.
Early Diagnosis is Key
One of the main reasons that regular blood pressure monitoring is important is for early diagnosis. Knowing what your normal levels are is the best way to ensure you can begin to treat high blood pressure when it begins.
Because I wasn’t using a blood pressure monitor frequently, I had no idea just how high my blood pressure was by the time the doctor found it for himself. Had I been routinely using a blood pressure monitor at home, I may have been able to catch the problem before my levels climbed any higher. Having a reliable, portable blood pressure monitor for at home use is my biggest tip for anyone ready to take their health into their own hands. There are affordable health products, like monitors to test your levels daily so that you know what is and is not normal for your body. If you do see anything out of the ordinary, you can make an appointment with your physician so that he or she can help treat the problem.
On the other hand, hypertension is often inaccurately diagnosed at doctors’ offices because patients tend to feel stress in this environment. When monitoring blood pressure at home, you can choose when and where to take the test, decreasing the likelihood that your levels will be incorrect based on the environment.
Is My Treatment Working?
Although I wasn’t able to catch my diagnosis in its early stages because I wasn’t regularly monitoring my blood pressure, I use an at home blood pressure monitor to determine whether or not the treatment regimen I am on is working. My doctor first prescribed my medication to lower my blood pressure and asked that I determine in what situations I often feel stressed. I didn’t think I was a very high strung person and couldn’t figure out exactly where I felt the most stress until I began measuring my blood pressure in different scenarios.
After testing my levels in different environments, it was clear that I was much more stressed out while working at the office and while driving through rush hour traffic. This was huge in helping me lower my blood pressure because I was able to work with my boss on changing my schedule so that I could out of my home office more. In doing so I wasn’t in as much bumper to bumper traffic, although some I just can’t seem to avoid!
Increase Your Chances of a Risk Free Pregnancy
One of the first things that my doctor said to me upon the high blood pressure discovery was that I may have a risky pregnancy. By the time I was pregnant with my first child at 34, I had had chronic hypertension for two years already. However, preeclampsia is another condition that occurs when a woman’s high blood pressure is induced by her pregnancy.
In both scenarios, it is imperative to use a home blood pressure monitor to keep track of blood pressure levels. Chronic hypertension and preeclampsia can have serious negative effects on a baby, including decreased oxygen and blood to the placenta. If a baby does not get an adequate blood supply, oxygen and nutrients, serious health problems can occur before, during and after birth.
By using a blood pressure monitor regularly, you can detect if and when your blood pressure begins to rise during pregnancy.