A blood pressure monitor is one of those devices that are painstakingly undervalued by the general population. I mean, how many people regularly keep tabs on their blood pressure at home despite the device being cheaper than a lot of other medical devices, being extremely easy to use and being recommended by the medical fraternity for ages now? (That’s the American Heart Association, Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (PCNA) and of course, the American Society of Hypertension)
I am sure that most people think that it is not necessary or not as important as monitoring blood sugar. The fact is that monitoring blood pressure at home can potentially save your life. And if you are still skeptical about getting home a blood pressure monitor, then here are 10 reasons that might give you some much-needed motivation to get started.
Blood Pressure Monitoring Once a year is not enough:
It is estimated that more than 60 million Americans live with high blood pressure, but only half of them are aware of the condition. For a condition that is linked with kidney failure, stroke and a whole host of other potentially life-threatening medical conditions, those numbers are scary. Imagine that you could be on the verge of a stroke and never knew about it, just because you were too lazy to check your blood pressure more regularly or you kept procrastinating. That’s a decision that you’d rather not regret.
There’s a difference in the readings at home and what you get at the doctors:
It’s called White Coat Hypertension, and it can mislead a lot of people into thinking that they have hypertension or are at a high risk for getting it in future. The fact is that White Coat Hypertension occurs due to the anxiety of visiting a doctor and the readings can be grossly overrated. Ironically, it can work the other way too because doctors know that the spike in pressure can be temporary and this may prevent them from accurately diagnosing your condition. If you use a blood pressure monitor at home, on the other hand, you can get much more accurate readings that can give the doctors a clear picture of how well you are responding to treatment.
Isn’t that obvious? Blood Pressure is called the Silent Killer for a reason. In most cases, there will be no symptoms. Even if there are symptoms, it will be so mild and so common that you’d easily dismiss them. Keeping track of your BP will help you diagnose this early and take action. It is estimated that almost 350,000 Americans die each year from Blood pressure related complications. That’s almost 1000 people every day. Does that sound motivating enough to strap a cuff on your arm and press a button?
Often, medical therapy is not enough to control high blood pressure. It demands lifestyle changes and regularly monitoring your blood pressure helps you understand the impact of the lifestyle changes that you may have adopted. Is the DASH diet working? Did quitting the butt help you or is that another load of bull? Is the early morning walk working? You can reassess the situation every time you feel that it is ineffective.
Save some Benjamin:
Who doesn’t like that? If you monitor your blood pressure regularly at home, then you don’t need to visit your doctor as often. That translates into more savings.
Blood pressure numbers can indicate a lot more than you’d imagine. If Monday blues drive you crazy, you may often notice that the numbers go through the roof on that day. If you hate mowing the lawn and your spouse’s subtle but constant reminders drive you crazy, then you may find that the blood pressure numbers rise fast in such occasions. That’s a trigger for you. If you can exercise some control over such situations, it can help you immensely in keeping the numbers in control over a time frame.
The law of averages:
When it comes to any medical condition like diabetes or blood pressure, the law of averages comes into play. The average reading over a period of days will always provide your doctor with a clearer picture than a random reading done once a month. Blood pressure monitors make it extremely easy to collect average readings and even convert them into a graph that can then be sent to your doctors.
There’s a Blood Pressure Monitor model that fits your needs:
From barebones models that can only record your blood pressure to advanced digital ones that record your pressure at the press of a button, allow you to transfer the data to a computer or even use your smartphone as a monitor, there are blood pressure monitors in all sorts of shapes, sizes and configurations. If you thought that they were too expensive or too cumbersome, then here’s a list of the top five blood pressure monitors for you.
You feel better:
There is nothing more depressing or demotivating than being aware that you are not doing anything to improve your health. If you have high BP and you are monitoring it regularly, you start to feel better and more motivated to take action to control it. You can easily assess the impact of even the smallest changes that you make to your lifestyle.
You can avoid drugs:
Many times, regular monitoring reveals that you may not need to take blood pressure drugs after all. All it takes is a few changes to your lifestyle to get the numbers under control. This can be a very significant decision that can impact your health and your finances for life.
There you have it. Ten reasons to get you kick started on your journey towards a healthier and more aware life. Do you have anything else to add to this? I would love to hear that.
Important Note: Notwithstanding any of the information in this article consult your doctor on the use of this device, and how it can be used to monitor your personal health situation. Also, consult the instructions and warnings for your particular device.