Why is it important to regularly measure blood pressure? Well, this article provides detailed information to answer this question.
Blood pressure monitoring is a very effective way to diagnose hypertension and the symptoms that mimic hypertension.
The research was carried out in the cities of Chelsea and Manhattan, New York, and an ambulatory 24-hour blood pressure screening was performed on almost two hundred patients. The results indicated that most people experience two peaks in their blood pressure daily, one between 6 AM to 8 AM and the other between 5 PM and 8 PM with a magnitude of about 30 to 50 mm Hg during these peak hours.
Patients with early hypertension experience elevated blood pressure in only one of the two peak hours. Since the peak periods are normally not the appointment hours of most of the primary and preventive care physicians in Manhattan, patients often go without a diagnosis, which leads to chronic hypertension. Self-monitoring of blood pressure at home provides an opportunity to measure elevated blood pressure during peak hours that may help the primary care specialist to diagnose hypertension in its early stages.
Your primary care physician will decide whether you need medication therapy or can be cured only by preventive care based on your health status, blood pressure readings, and other factors. If the patient is experiencing the common symptoms of hypertension such as dizziness, headache, and lethargy, the primary care doctors may prescribe medicines to treat the ailment.
However, an accurate diagnosis can only be made if the primary care physician has adequate information. It is important to rule out external factors that may affect blood pressure, as they are different for each patient. Some of the external factors that may affect blood pressure include personal emergencies, emotional distress, psychological problems, work tension, and even mood swings. Regular screening of blood pressure at home helps to figure out the external factors and presents accurate information that leads to an accurate diagnosis.
Identifying White Coat Hypertension
Whitecoat hypertension is the anxiety and distress that some patients experience when they are in the doctor’s office. It is the cause of almost 20% of the total cases of misdiagnosis of hypertension. The fear of the doctor, the anxiety of being examined, or the fear of an ailment is the cause of white coat hypertension. The condition is only temporary and resolves as the patient leaves the doctor’s office.
The solution to white coat hypertension is to regularly monitor the blood pressure at home at frequent intervals and arrange the data in a tabular form. This will help the primary care physician to make an accurate diagnosis.
Outcomes of Blood Pressure Monitoring At Home
Patients with hypertension experience various symptoms that differ on a case-to-case basis and depend upon multiple factors. Regular monitoring at home provides a baseline for accurate diagnosis and valuable information regarding the possible treatment options and their outcomes. This will also help the primary care physician prescribe your medicines and adjust the dosage as per the severity of the disease.
A home-based blood pressure monitoring method helps to predict the possible complication and the risk of chronic diseases caused by hypertension. It helps to deliver timely emergency treatment to the patients when needed.
Complication of Hypertension
Hypertension is the root cause of many chronic and deadly diseases. It’s a famous Greek proverb that obesity is the mother of all diseases, and obesity leads to hypertension, which is the root cause of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, kidney problems, renal dysfunction, hyper/hypothyroidism, hyperlipidemia, and liver diseases.
- If the patient is only suffering from general hypertension, primary care specialists need to regulate the blood pressure at 140/90 mm Hg.
- If the patient is diabetic, the doctor should control the blood pressure at 130/80 mm Hg.
- If the patient is suffering from proteinuria (high protein content in urine, the blood pressure should be regulated at 125/75 mm Hg.
If you experience encephalopathy (blood pressure above the range of 180/140 mm Hg), you immediately need to consult a nearby primary care physician to avoid the risk of some serious complications. It can cause the immediate death of the patient.
Any further increase in blood pressure may aggravate the rate of damage to internal organs.
Guidelines for Beginners for Blood Pressure Measurement
If you are measuring blood pressure at home without expert supervision, you need to follow simple rules to record accurate readings. Read the following precautionary measures and try to follow them ;
Selecting the right type of device
Several different types of devices are available in the market for blood pressure measurement. A sphygmomanometer is the best device that gives the most accurate results. It is manual and difficult to use for non-professionals in the beginning but is the most popular device in the medical world and gives 99% accurate results.
Timings of blood pressure measurement
Timings play a critical role in the value of blood pressure. Your body normally maintains variable values of blood pressure at different times in a 24 hours cycle.
You must take a reading during the peak hours i.e. between 7 AM to 8 AM in the morning and between 7 PM to 8 PM in the evening.
Make sure to record the blood pressure in a relaxed resting state. Factors such as fatigue, emotional distress, and work tension affect blood pressure.
Maintain proper posture
The value of blood pressure is also affected by the position or posture of the body, and the values are different in states of standing, sitting, and lying on the bed.
The clinical approach is to measure the blood pressure in a supine (sitting) position with your arms, and chest, and monitor it at the same level. Maintaining a record book of the readings is mandatory. If you are using a traditional monitor, keep a note of the time, date, physical state, meals, and other important conditions in a record book.
– Disclaimer –
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.
About The AuthorDr. Syra Hanif M.D.
Board Certified Primary Care Physician
Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.Read More