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Old 04-17-2007, 05:47 PM   #1
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How accurate are your blood pressure readings?

Hello everybody!

According to a pharmacist at the supermarket, this is the correct way to measure blood pressure:

Rest for 5 minutes

Hold your left arm out straight at the heart level or rest it on a table at heart level

Apply the cuff

Take a reading

Wait 5 minutes

Take another reading using the SAME (left) arm - NOT THE RIGHT ARM

Add the two readings together
Divide by 2 - this is your blood pressure

Do this at different times through the day, because the blood pressure changes so much.(!!!!!!??????)

Well, I have been doing it differently and am quite confused. What is point of taking readings through the day knowing they will vary a lot, based on many factors? How useful can this information possibly be?
I see I have a lot to learn!

Last edited by flowergirl2day; 04-17-2007 at 06:47 PM.

 
Old 04-20-2007, 07:53 PM   #2
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Re: How accurate are your blood pressure readings?

Hello,

just a quick update. During my weekly visit to doc's office today, I asked him how to take my BP properly.
He happens to have high blood pressure, too, which he controls with 2 meds. His BP is taken twice a day, in the a.m. before leaving for work and at night.
He relaxes lying down, while listening to classical music. Then he takes his BP. Once only! using his left arm. The only trouble is that sometimes the music puts him to sleep before he can take it.
His words: If I were to ask four different professionals (doctors or pharmacists) what the correct way was, I'd hear four different answers. Told me to keep doing it my way and not worry about it - bottom line: it's the numbers that matter!!!

Last edited by flowergirl2day; 04-20-2007 at 07:55 PM.

 
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Old 04-20-2007, 08:55 PM   #3
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Re: How accurate are your blood pressure readings?

Ah, the truth be told!

Bsheba

 
Old 04-21-2007, 09:00 AM   #4
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Re: How accurate are your blood pressure readings?

I got so hyper about taking my b/p (cuff anxiety is the term I use) that I had to devise a method that worked for me. I take my b/p as soon as I sit down. Otherwise I get too anxious about what the numbers will be. Then through a number of experiments, I've found that usually my resting b/p is about 20 points systolically less, if I rest 5 min. Doing it this way has relieved my "cuff anxiety" a lot. Now I just take my b/p first thing in the AM after going potty & then if I get really upsett about something. I want to know what my b/p is when I am calm, cool, & collected as well as when I'm very upsett. Then if it is very high, I have a routine that I go through to get it down. My last resort is to take more medication. It's taken me a very long time to get to this point believe me!!!
Fam

 
Old 04-21-2007, 09:52 AM   #5
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Re: How accurate are your blood pressure readings?

Thanks for sharing that, Fam! I know what you mean! I too have this anxiety taking the readings because I so badly want the numbers to be good!!! They have been excellent for a week now. This is a first time in 4 months for me!
I also wondered how to overcome this anxiety.

I guess BP readings during times of extreme stress etc. would be useful for letting us know when to go to the ER.

 
Old 04-21-2007, 11:45 AM   #6
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Re: How accurate are your blood pressure readings?

Flowergirl,

I went out and bought a good monitor (Omoron$$$) several months ago and have experienced fluctuations daily--we won't get into details here. I've done some reading in my bp monitor book, on the boards, and elsewhere) to make sure I was doing everything "right" but despite my consistency, I still had wide fluctuations. Well, a medical professional who is a personal friend checked my pressures with her accurate meter using the steps you've describe, flowergirl, and I had readings that were in the lower than 80/120 . This, 24 hours after having my last dose of meds.

Now I'm excited but I'm also realistic. Have a doc's appt this week and will see what the pressures are then...it may be that my monitor was never accurate (but I recently dropped it but caught it by the air cord before it hit the ground )...so will check it out. Or it may be that after lowering my dose of norvasc, the pressures have finally settled down.

But I guess the real moral here is, again, get those monitors checked. Just because they are new doesn't mean they are accurate!

Bsheba

Last edited by bethsheba; 04-21-2007 at 11:46 AM.

 
Old 04-21-2007, 12:25 PM   #7
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Re: How accurate are your blood pressure readings?

Omron is the same one I've been using. It's just about 4 months old now. I had asked for the most accurate one that was also easy to use. This was the best (and the most expensive) one by a long shot.
I'll take it with me next week to the doctor's office and we'll check it against their equipment.( I'd hate to think that the numbers I've been getting might not be accurate!).

So happy to hear your good news! That's great! I think lowering the dose of your med might have helped (though it makes no sense that it should!). I often wonder how my BP would be if the doses were lowered so that I would not have to be so sick. I'd be too afraid to try that, I think. Good luck with your readings!

 
Old 04-21-2007, 02:14 PM   #8
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Re: How accurate are your blood pressure readings?

I've taken almost 22,000 blood pressure readings since 1998, or an average of about 7 times per day. Lately, I've been taking about 10 bp readings per day. I plop myself down, put the cuff on, relax for no more than 20 seconds, and take my blood pressure. I alternate arms each time.

It all boils down to, "What do you want to know about your blood pressure?" I wanted to know what my blood pressure was doing throughout a 24 hour day. For instance, if I woke up at 3am, I took my blood pressure, then went back to sleep.

I have had heart failure for over two decades, and in 1998, my heart failure and my health was getting worse, so I did whatever I could to find out why my heart was getting weaker, and why my health was getting worse. My blood pressure readings, combined with the notes that I took, provided the information that I needed.

Perhaps I am not taking my blood pressure exactly according to the rules, but my efforts resulted in significant improvements to my health, and to my blood pressure, so my technique can't be too bad.
__________________
Greatly Improved CHF, A-Fib, HBP, Asthma:

⇒ Eliminate household items that are toxic!
⇒ Balanced, healthy, low glycemic diet
⇒ Lots of Exercise
⇒ Avoid night allergens, toxins
⇒ Coreg!

 
Old 04-21-2007, 02:18 PM   #9
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Re: How accurate are your blood pressure readings?

Knowing what my numbers are when I'm stressed has prompted me to let the nonessential stuff go by the wayside & not dwell on stuff that doesn't matter. I say to myself "is it worth dying for or having a stroke for." Most of the time it isn't worth it. Then I try to use up the adrenalin surge that is driving the b/p up by exercise, or some kind of physical activity like cleaning out a closet etc.
Afterwards I have something to show for my effort. Fam

 
Old 04-21-2007, 02:32 PM   #10
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Re: How accurate are your blood pressure readings?

Right on, Beerzoids!

Glad to hear your health has improved and the frequency of your BP readings contributed to it!
I think quite a few of us know desperation and have experienced it in different ways. I'd take my BP a dozen times a day, too, if I thought it would help me get to the root of my problems. One step at a time. I am getting a handle on controlling my BP; that, for me, has been #1 priority since day one.

I am starting to think there's really no right or wrong way to measure the blood pressure, providing the cuff is secured so that it can inflate properly.
Thanks for your insight.

 
Old 04-21-2007, 02:39 PM   #11
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Re: How accurate are your blood pressure readings?

Fam,

Sounds like a good stress buster to me! Meditation works for some. I tried it but cannot slow my mind down enough to get much benefit from it. I have 4 CDs here plus a book on the subject. The only parts that interest me are those that teach people how to breathe. (I am hoping it will help me somehow with my breathing).

 
Old 04-21-2007, 04:07 PM   #12
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Re: How accurate are your blood pressure readings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by flowergirl2day View Post
Right on, Beerzoids!

Glad to hear your health has improved and the frequency of your BP readings contributed to it!
Thanks! When I started taking my blood pressure, in 1998, I had no idea what I would find. I thought my blood pressure would always be high because of my damaged heart. What I found out was, healthy blood pressure resulted in a healthier heart condition.

Quote:
I think quite a few of us know desperation and have experienced it in different ways.
When I first started taking my blood pressure, with constant readings up around 175/110, and kept getting the same type of readings day, after day, my desperation and anxiety levels went through the roof. I started trying everything, and watching the effect on my blood pressure. I am so glad those horrible days are gone.

Quote:
I'd take my BP a dozen times a day, too, if I thought it would help me get to the root of my problems.
What do you do with the results? Do you enter your readings into one of the free Internet blood pressure processing services?

What types of readings do you get in the evening, from about 6pm through midnight?

Quote:
One step at a time. I am getting a handle on controlling my BP; that, for me, has been #1 priority since day one.
Blood Pressure is to humans as dog poop is to dogs. It is a general indicator of overall wellbeing. If a dog's poop is not healthy, then there is something wrong with the dog, usually the diet. That should tell us something.

Quote:
I am starting to think there's really no right or wrong way to measure the blood pressure, providing the cuff is secured so that it can inflate properly. Thanks for your insight.
To me, whatever is easier. I do believe in relaxing, and deep breathing, for up to 20 seconds prior to taking the BP. The deep breathing helps my heart to beat stronger. I want a low blood pressure with a strong heartbeat, so that the low blood pressure reading is not the result of a weakly beating heart.

Take care. It's nice to find someone else who believes in taking their blood pressure numerous times per day!
__________________
Greatly Improved CHF, A-Fib, HBP, Asthma:

⇒ Eliminate household items that are toxic!
⇒ Balanced, healthy, low glycemic diet
⇒ Lots of Exercise
⇒ Avoid night allergens, toxins
⇒ Coreg!

 
Old 04-21-2007, 07:36 PM   #13
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Re: How accurate are your blood pressure readings?

Beerzoids,

thanks for your post! I have learned so much from you guys already! Sharing your knowledge with us helps us, the new guys, immensely.

What is a BP processing service? (If you've used it, I should definitely find out more about it, it could prove to be very useful!)

I keep a journal with the dates/readings for the docs. I have not seen my BP doctor in a while, so am pretty much on my own right now. (under my GP's supervision, I mean). Luckily, things have improved so much!
I have been able to keep my BP under 130/80 for a week now. It's usually around 122/76, less sometimes. Right now it's 119/73. Not bad at all!!!! I go to bed at 10 pm so dont' take readings after that time. As to how to make use of this information (other than sharing it with the doctors), I am not sure.

 
Old 04-25-2007, 05:25 AM   #14
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Re: How accurate are your blood pressure readings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by beerzoids View Post
I've taken almost 22,000 blood pressure readings since 1998, or an average of about 7 times per day.....

Perhaps I am not taking my blood pressure exactly according to the rules, but my efforts resulted in significant improvements to my health, and to my blood pressure, so my technique can't be too bad.
Beerzoids,

After taking your readings almost 22,000 times you've got to have that technique down pat!!! And I think consistency of technique is the key--we want to compare apples to apples, even though we take the readings under different circumstances at different times of the day. Those of us who are relatively new to this, may be struggling with that technique. I, for instance, find that sometimes I cross my legs, sometimes I'm reclining, sometimes I hold my breath--in other words I am not consistent! And this may have something to do with my numbers.

Quote:
It all boils down to, "What do you want to know about your blood pressure?"
Yes, I agree entirely! Based on your experience, (which may be different from mine and others due to your heart condition, for example), how much of a variation do you think we can expect? How many points higher than the ideal? How many points lower? Any insights here?

Thanks for your help, Beerzoids. It is such a comfort to know someone who is a survivor and who has an extensive life experience we can rely upon.

Bsheba

 
Old 04-25-2007, 05:37 AM   #15
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Re: How accurate are your blood pressure readings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by beerzoids View Post
When I started taking my blood pressure, in 1998, I had no idea what I would find. I thought my blood pressure would always be high because of my damaged heart. What I found out was, healthy blood pressure resulted in a healthier heart condition.
This info is very comforting to those of us who have loved ones or friends with similar conditons...and it is an incentive for us with hbp to get our numbers down!

Quote:
When I first started taking my blood pressure, with constant readings up around 175/110, and kept getting the same type of readings day, after day, my desperation and anxiety levels went through the roof. I started trying everything, and watching the effect on my blood pressure. I am so glad those horrible days are gone.
How very frightening that must have been...I do hope you had a good support system at that time...you're certainly providing us with a good support system! And I need to thank you for doing so.

Quote:
Blood Pressure is to humans as dog poop is to dogs. It is a general indicator of overall wellbeing. If a dog's poop is not healthy, then there is something wrong with the dog, usually the diet. That should tell us something.
Oh Beerzoids, you make me laugh, and laugh, and laugh...but the point is very well made!

Quote:
It's nice to find someone else who believes in taking their blood pressure numerous times per day!
I can't imagine why anyone would not find the value in doing so but tgen not everyone has the "luxury" of being able to do so because of work, family, and other activities.

Thanks so much for being there, Beerzoids. I do so enjoy and value your posts. Oh, and I'm still looking into that insulin resistant diet you have referred to.

Bsheba

 
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