– Approximately 73 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension, a condition that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and other complications. If your doctor has diagnosed you with hypertension, monitoring your blood pressure levels at home may help to improve the success of treatment for the condition. We carry many different types of blood pressure monitors at drugstore.com to help you successfully track your readings.
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There are many reasons why experts recommend monitoring blood pressure levels at home. If your doctor is concerned that you may have hypertension, he or she might advise you to monitor your blood pressure levels for several weeks. Anxiety related to doctors' visits can lead to abnormally high blood pressure readings in the office, so monitoring at home can help you and your doctor determine if you truly are suffering from chronic hypertension. In the event that you are diagnosed with the condition, tracking your blood pressure levels can help you monitor your progress with treatment. Your doctor can use the information that you gather to adjust the types and dosages of medications, and it can give you an idea of how much changes to your lifestyle are benefiting you. Studies have found that people who monitor their blood pressure levels may experience better outcomes from treatment for hypertension, meaning that using a monitor on a daily basis may help you to protect yourself from the complications of hypertension.
Types of Home Blood Pressure Monitors
There are two main types of blood pressure monitors that can be used at home.
Manual models consist of a ball-shaped pump attached to a cuff and a dial meter. Typically, manual blood pressure monitors are sold with a stethoscope. Your doctor can explain how to use a manual blood pressure monitor correctly to get accurate results.
The second type of blood pressure monitor is the digital or automatic monitor. With this type, you slide a cuff around your wrist or arm and then press a button to begin measuring your blood pressure. The results are shown on a digital display.
If you're not sure which type of blood pressure monitor is right for you, ask your doctor for advice.
What Are Systolic and Diastolic Pressure?
Blood pressure readings consist of two numbers.
The top number is your systolic reading. In individuals with hypertension, systolic readings are typically 140 or above. A normal systolic reading is 120 or below.
The bottom number is your diastolic reading. People with hypertension may have diastolic readings of 90 or above, while a normal diastolic blood pressure reading is 80 or below.
Your physician will likely establish target blood pressure readings for you to strive to achieve as your treatment progresses. He or she can also tell you what readings could indicate a serious medical emergency that requires prompt treatment.
Tips for Checking Blood Pressure
Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions as to how often you should check your blood pressure and when to perform the readings.
Be sure to remain still and quiet while using the blood pressure monitor to obtain accurate results.
Keep your arm at heart level and do not eat, smoke tobacco or drink alcohol for 30 minutes prior to checking your blood pressure levels.
Urinate before using the machine unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.