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Old 01-12-2007, 03:51 PM   #1
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How often should you take your bp

How often should you check your bp? Sometimes I feel as though I'm obsessed with it!

 
Old 01-12-2007, 04:30 PM   #2
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Re: How often should you take your bp

My dr. had me monitor mine 3 times a day, 3 times a week when he changed my meds. Try to take it at the same time each day U check it. I also got very obsessed with taking mine at first, NOT a good idea. If I saw a higher then normal reading, I would panic, and then kept taking it every few hrs., and all it did was make me more anxious.

Good luck, and best wishes......
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Old 01-13-2007, 08:41 AM   #3
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Re: How often should you take your bp

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Originally Posted by dmc414 View Post
How often should you check your bp?
It depends upon what you want to know and do.

I've had heart failure for decades, but I didn't know that I had high blood pressure because my blood pressure was always normal in the doctors office. My health was getting even worse, so I started taking my blood pressure at home. I was shocked! Many readings at home were over 150/100 and some were as high as 190/120. I found out that, the worse I felt, the higher my blood pressure. I had to get my blood pressure down to healthy levels or my heart failure would continue to get worse, but I didn't know anything about blood pressure. Were these high readings just an anomaly? Would my blood pressure go down to normal in a day or two? Would it stay down? Would it stay up? Did it get any higher? What was causing my high blood pressure? Was high blood pressure normal with heart failure? Was it something that I ate? What was going on!? Many questions, few answers.

I wanted to know how high my blood pressure was going on an average day, so that I could tell the doctor, and hopefully get it fixed. If I didn't know how bad my blood pressure was, how would I know to get it fixed? Could I rely on a few BP readings per year in the doctor's office, or would I have to track and evaluate my own blood pressure readings?

So...... I started taking my blood pressure many times per day. Sometimes, on bad days, when my blood pressure was very high all day long, and I was trying things, ANYTHING!, to get my blood pressure down to safer levels, I would take my bp 20 times that day. That started an amazing learning process about my blood pressure, and about my heart rhythm problems, that continues today, eight years and 20,000 readings later, or an average of about 7 readings per day. When I learned something significant about what causes high blood pressure, or what causes disturbances in my heart rhythm, or what causes shortness of breath, I wondered why doctors don't know about these causes, and if they did, why aren't they telling their patients!? Could it be that sick patients are more profitable than well patients, or is our medical system really that bad!? Surprisingly, or perhaps expectedly?, many of the things that cause the blood pressure to be high, also cause problems with heart rhythm.

Here are some of my blood pressure results:

Entire month of Jan 1999: 156/99 based on 500 readings.

July 2006: 135/78 readings: 400

Aug 2006, 136/77 readings: 330

Sep 2006, 132/76 readings: 310

Oct 2006, 129/75 readings: 200

In Nov 2006, 126/75, readings: 186

As can be seen, my average monthly blood pressure continues to improve, as a result of changes to my medication and continued changes to my environment and lifestyle. I didn't realize it at the time but, with my average monthly blood pressure down to very healthy levels, I've been taking my blood pressure less often.

How many times you take your own blood pressure depends upon what you want to know, and do, about your own blood pressure. I have heart failure, so it's either get my blood pressure under control, or die, or worse. You must also have a plan. If you are going to take your blood pressure often, and you find out that your bp is too high, write it down so that you can show your home blood pressure readings to your doctor and also try things to lower them yourself. If your doctor prescribes changes to your bp meds, you would be able to check the effectiveness of the changes and tell the doctor.
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Last edited by Machaon; 01-17-2007 at 12:25 PM.

 
Old 01-15-2007, 02:50 PM   #4
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Re: How often should you take your bp

When I was starting treatment I probably was taking it 2-3 times a day, always at the same time. Once me and my doctor figured out a medication regimen that worked I started checking it less frequently.

Now I'm lucky if I check it once a week, just to make sure the medication is still working.

 
Old 01-16-2007, 06:15 AM   #5
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Re: How often should you take your bp

I TRY to do it every evening with 3 readings (lose the high and low values, record the middle.) It usually works out to every SECOND day.

When I go see the doctor I copy the results since last visit and average them out and he sticks this in my file.

 
Old 01-16-2007, 08:30 PM   #6
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Re: How often should you take your bp

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenin View Post
I TRY to do it every evening with 3 readings (lose the high and low values, record the middle.) It usually works out to every SECOND day.

When I go see the doctor I copy the results since last visit and average them out and he sticks this in my file.

How much time do you wait between readings? Do you always check the same arm? Thanks.

Last edited by TLB50; 01-16-2007 at 08:31 PM.

 
Old 01-17-2007, 05:22 AM   #7
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Re: How often should you take your bp

TLB...
I wait about 3 minutes and switch arms for reading 2. Then I wait about 3 more minutes and retest arm 1.
Next day I alternate which arm gets tested twice.

So its:
Day one: LRL
Day two: RLR

I should probably wait a bit longer, but I get impatient.

 
Old 01-17-2007, 05:39 PM   #8
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Re: How often should you take your bp

Lenin, may I ask why you take it in the evening?

 
Old 01-18-2007, 04:18 PM   #9
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Re: How often should you take your bp

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Originally Posted by beerzoids View Post
That started an amazing learning process about my blood pressure, and about my heart rhythm problems, that continues today, eight years and 20,000 readings later, or an average of about 7 readings per day. When I learned something significant about what causes high blood pressure, or what causes disturbances in my heart rhythm, or what causes shortness of breath, I wondered why doctors don't know about these causes, and if they did, why aren't they telling their patients!? Could it be that sick patients are more profitable than well patients, or is our medical system really that bad!?
I'm fascinated by this approach. I do think that doctors don't know as much about us as individuals as they should in most cases. They also don't look for causes very often, just treatments based on statistics. So, I do believe in monitoring things myself, if possible.

For example, I keep spreadsheets of recurring tests, like cholesterol, along with what changes I've made when they are higher or lower. Doing this I was able to discover that a fiber product worked as well for me as statins, which is lucky, since I cannot tolerate any statin at any dose. IN fact, the majority of drugs I try, I have bad reactions, the rare kinds.

I was just taken off hydrochlorothiazide, which worked well for several years, with only small side effects of dizziness, but then stopped working and am starting lisinopril, hoping I don't get the cough. I always find it amazing that the doctor does not try to figure out what has changed, but just wants to up the ante with medications. I would like to find out why it has changed, what are the causes, etc.

I do a number of things that also help, like daily aerobic exercise. However, I've been at a loss to figure out how to measure the results of all this, and want to start. Maybe doing this I can figure out cause and effect and make a better plan than just increasingly higher doses and more meds.

My question to you is a technical one: What method do you use to record your bp and figure out the results per month, etc. Is there a special technology that does this for you? The record keeping sounds huge to me.

Also, Is there a preferred bp device, like a wrist monitor, etc. that makes this easier? I'd like to take mine during the day at work, for instance.

 
Old 01-19-2007, 07:12 AM   #10
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Re: How often should you take your bp

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmc414 View Post
Lenin, may I ask why you take it in the evening?

I take my BP meds in the morning and "run around" most of the day. In the evening, I am 12 hours away from the drugs (thus better able to judge their lasting effect) and it's the time I am sitting comfortably in my recliner watching a Netflix...with the BP tester neatly at its side. That routine just seems to work best for me.
Once in a blue moon, I'll test mid afternoon, or after my gym workout, but by far most readings are in the evening.

 
Old 01-19-2007, 07:24 AM   #11
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Re: How often should you take your bp

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Originally Posted by thyme2b View Post
I do think that doctors don't know as much about us as individuals as they should in most cases. They also don't look for causes very often, just treatments based on statistics.
The average person's blood pressure and heart rhythm, and other health problems, are effected by lifestyle, environment, diet, heredity, current medication and medication compliance, physical defects, etc.

The medical industry already admits that it doesn't know what causes most cases of high blood pressure, doesn't it? They know that blood pressure, and other health problems, are effected by an overactive neuro-hormonal system, but they don't really know, in most cases, what actually causes the overactivation of hormones.

Individually and fully analyzing each patient would be nearly impossible and, in most cases, would be futile, in the case of high blood pressure and heart rhythm problems. So...... most doctors mostly take a "hit and miss" approach, by prescribing medications, like Ace Inhibitors and Beta Blockers and Calcium Channel Blockers, etc., which attempt to block the harmful effects of specific, over-active hormones.

Quote:
So, I do believe in monitoring things myself, if possible.
That is probably the only way that you are going to be able to associate the causes and effects of your own health problems. In my case, I've been very slowly figuring out what causes me to have higher blood pressure and increases in my heart rhythm and breathing problems, but it has taken over eight years and 20,000 blood pressure readings, with associated notes. In fact, just out of curiosity, I just weighed my eight years of blood pressure notepads. The total weight was seven pounds!

Quote:
For example, I keep spreadsheets of recurring tests, like cholesterol, along with what changes I've made when they are higher or lower. Doing this I was able to discover that a fiber product worked as well for me as statins,
Your efforts pay off big time, for you, and not very well for your doctor. If you can maintain a healthy cholesterol level, and healthy blood pressure levels, through diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, YOU DON'T NEED HIM! You especially wouldn't need to see him, once a year, in order to get your statin prescription filled.

Quote:
... which is lucky, since I cannot tolerate any statin at any dose. IN fact, the majority of drugs I try, I have bad reactions, the rare kinds.
I can't take statins either, they give me chest pains and heart rhythm problems.

Those "rare kinds" of reactions might not be as rare was we think. I believe that the drug companies hide some of the bad results that they get, or blame the bad results on something other than the medications that they are testing. In a way, I don't blame them. The relationships between drug effects and individual diet, lifestyle, and a person's neurohormonal system, are very complex.

Quote:
I was just taken off hydrochlorothiazide, which worked well for several years, with only small side effects of dizziness, but then stopped working ...
How did you know that HCTZ stopped working? How many bp readings, over what period of time, were used to determine that it was no longer was effective?

Quote:
... and am starting lisinopril, hoping I don't get the cough. I always find it amazing that the doctor does not try to figure out what has changed, but just wants to up the ante with medications. I would like to find out why it has changed, what are the causes, etc.
The ONLY way to be able to analyze the results of a change in medication, like to Lisinopril, or the effectiveness of the old medication, is to thoroughly monitor one's own blood pressure. I'm also on an Ace Inhibitor, Quinapril. For a long time, I did not know the true effectiveness of Quinapril, even though I was frequently taking my blood pressure, logging it, and producing charts which included changes in medication, etc. It is VERY difficult to measure the effectiveness of a medication, especially when one is on multiple medications, like I am.

Quote:
I do a number of things that also help, like daily aerobic exercise. However, I've been at a loss to figure out how to measure the results of all this, and want to start. Maybe doing this I can figure out cause and effect and make a better plan than just increasingly higher doses and more meds.
It is not easy to determine cause and effect. One thing that helps me is to limit the number of changes at one time. For instance, if I started an aerobic exercise program, I wouldn't make any other changes for at least a couple of weeks, and monitored the average weekly change in blood pressure. The same thing goes for a change in medications, or diet, etc. When reducing or eliminating a medication, I want to go up to a month to fully evaluate the effects of the changes in the medication.

Quote:
My question to you is a technical one: What method do you use to record your bp and figure out the results per month, etc. Is there a special technology that does this for you? The record keeping sounds huge to me..
I use Microsoft Access and Excel under Windows, and Openoffice Database and Gnumeric Spreadsheet under Linux. Do you have database software? If not, you could just enter your readings into spreadsheet and do reports and charts within the spreadsheet. I'm in the process of switching over to Linux (Ubuntu). All of the software is FREE under Linux, and Linux always easily recognizes all of the hardware that I have on my PCs.

I have also seen free blood pressure logging facilities on the Internet, which say that they are easy to use, but I have never used any of them. You might want to check some of them out.

Quote:
Also, Is there a preferred bp device, like a wrist monitor, etc. that makes this easier? I'd like to take mine during the day at work, for instance.
I use the Reli On digital blood pressure monitor. It has a plug so that I don't have to use batteries, but in your case, batteries might be a better way to go. It puffs up all by itself, so it does make a little noise, and then records your blood pressure. It takes very little time and it keeps your last 14 readings, so you can then type them into your computer when you get home.

I have heard that the wrist monitors are not very accurate, but I don't know if any of the newer ones are more effective.

Sorry about the long response. You got me in a talkative mood!

Let me know what you decide to do!

Regards, and best of luck.
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⇒ Avoid allergic & non-allergic irritants/triggers
⇒ Low calorie ovo-vegetarian diet
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⇒ Coreg 25mg bid

Last edited by Machaon; 01-19-2007 at 07:30 AM.

 
Old 01-21-2007, 08:00 PM   #12
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Re: How often should you take your bp

Thanks for all the great info, Beerzoids. You asked about how they decided to take me off HTCZ, and it was based on one high reading in the doc's office It didn't make sense to me, since I had just had one of the most stressful days at work I could remember. I told him that, but he didn't really think about it very much.

I have another doc, who works with alternative medications as well as conventional ones. Luckily I had an appt scheduled with him. So, he and I came up with a different plan. I was going to stay off the meds for a couple of days and see what my bp was. It was ok the first day, but the second, at bedtime I had a reading of 160/83. That top number is high for me. So, that night I took the HTCZ. Upon awakening, it was 120/65, which is what it often was in the a.m. with the HTCZ.

But then I took two meds/supplements he's put me on. I took some iodine (because my thyroid's low, not necessarily for the bp) and a supplement called arginine, which is for the bp. Halfway through the a.m., I took my bp again. It was 114/63! My systolic has been the biggest problem, so this was quite a surprise. This afternoon it was 126/69 and tonight 146/74. The average for the day was 127/68.

Tonight I'm not taking the HTCZ and will just try these 2 new things in the morning and see how it is again, not having taken the HTCZ. I'll try these 3 factors and see how they relate. It will be harder to do this at work, but I'll try and see. I'm especially interested in the mid morning one, which was so low today.

So, what I hear you saying is that taking it and finding a pattern and relating that pattern to what else I"m doing. Makes sense to me! I am very excited about this, because I really do want to know what's going on and what I can do to stay healthy.

 
Old 01-22-2007, 05:11 AM   #13
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Re: How often should you take your bp

thyme,
Quote:
You asked about how they decided to take me off HTCZ, and it was based on one high reading in the doc's office It didn't make sense to me, since I had just had one of the most stressful days at work I could remember. I told him that, but he didn't really think about it very much.
Your post made me laugh: if it was a very expensive drug you were taking and you registered very high in the doctor's office, he would, of course DOUBLED your dosage.
He took you off one of the very best antihypertensives and did you a disservice.

How much arginine are you taking daily?

 
Old 01-22-2007, 04:17 PM   #14
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Re: How often should you take your bp

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenin View Post
He took you off one of the very best antihypertensives and did you a disservice.

How much arginine are you taking daily?
I'm taking between 3 and 8 grams per day. Just started, so I'll see how it all works. Since I can't take arginine and lisinopril together, I'm going to stay on the HCTZ. Lisinopril and arginine are not recommended together due to problems with potassium that can arise. HCTZ is calcium sparing, and decreases potassium, so the arginine is a good complement to that.

Today, at work I took my bp several times, but no low readings like the other day. Today, over 5 readings so far, my bp averaged 135/76. I'm just going to play it by ear and keep up with the HCTZ and these supplements. I may need to take more if my bp is slowly creeping up, but I'd rather go the natural route as much as possible.

In a week I'm going to be put on low dose bioidentical hormone replacement, (which includes female hormones, but also a small amount of testosterone). The hormones are for another problem, which may also help the bp, at least I'm under that impression. It will be interesting to see, given that I'm taking all these readings I have a chance to monitor it.

 
Old 01-23-2007, 05:30 AM   #15
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Re: How often should you take your bp

Keep an eye on your serum sodium.
Long term useage of an ARB and HCTZ gave me a chronic VERY low sodium condition.

And low-sodium is a DREARY condition.

 
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