Have you been diagnosed with hypertension, and are you uneasy about whether your medication is working right? You might consider monitoring your high blood pressure at home. Research has shown that can be helpful as an addition to the regular monitoring in a healthcare provider's office.Many doctors recommend you monitor your blood pressure at home if:*You have been diagnosed with pre-hypertension (systolic --- top --- number between 120 and 139 mm Hg OR diastolic --- bottom --- number between 80 and 89 mm Hg).*You have been diagnosed with hypertension (systolic 140 mm Hg or above OR diastolic 90 mm Hg or above)>*You have risk factors, including family history, obesity, tobacco use and a high-salt diet.Home monitoring is important because just one measurement taken at the doctor's office is like a snapshot. It tells what your blood pressure is at that moment. Since there are no symptoms for HBP and no way to sense fluctuations in blood pressure, measuring regularly is the only way to get the facts. Readings can vary throughout the day and can be temporarily influenced by factors such as emotions, diet and medication.A record of readings taken over time can provide you and your healthcare provider a clearer picture of your blood pressure. Why? Some patients blood pressure spikes at a doctors office because of anxiety. Surprisingly, some individuals have normal readings in a professional's office but elevated readings outside the office.
Home monitoring may also be especially useful for patients starting HBP medicine, to determine its effectiveness, and patients requiring closer monitoring than intermittent office visits provide, especially people with coronary heart disease, diabetes and/or kidney disease.
One caution: If you have atrial fibrillation or other arrhythmias you may not be good candidate for home monitoring.
In any case, speak with your doctor before starting a home-monitoring program.
Robin Westen is ThirdAges medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. She is the author of Ten Days to Detox: How to Look and Feel a Decade Younger.
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