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Old 10-28-2008, 05:33 AM   #1
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Fluctuating readings-- does one average them?

To get the most likely "real bp reading", does one merely average the results when there are discrepancies, or do you drop the high and or low and go with the median? For example, at 8 a.m. have three readings, about 3 minutes apart-- 147/78; 138/70; and 131/75. Just took another, and it was 145/74.

So my take is that I'm at the high-end of the "pre-hypertension" range and need to be concerned. I'm already using 40 mg of lisinopril (no noticeable side effects).

 
Old 10-29-2008, 05:38 PM   #2
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Re: Fluctuating readings-- does one average them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by daff View Post
To get the most likely "real bp reading", does one merely average the results when there are discrepancies, or do you drop the high and or low and go with the median? For example, at 8 a.m. have three readings, about 3 minutes apart-- 147/78; 138/70; and 131/75. Just took another, and it was 145/74.
This is my first message, and I respond not because I feel I know the real answer to your question - but because the "subject" really interests me.

Just a quick snapshot of me, I'm 54, male with hypertension on paternal side. 6 years ago I was obese (BMI=33) but that year (2002) started a low carb lifestyle, and currently have a BMI=24.8 and an average resting BP of 109/71. Take no medication, and have a fairly good fitness. So my quest is not to reduce BP - but to carefully monitor it for any signs I need to change my diet/lifestyle. Having only had my BP monitor for a couple of months I have found it interesting to first of all make sure it compares accurately to several other monitors and to learn about BP taking technique.

The surprising thing I first (and I think everyone else) learns about taking BP, is that it "fluctuates". It is like trying to measure the height of a child while it insists on jumping up and down!

My current method is to use a timer to take a reading every 5 minutes, after following normal procedures (sitting for 5 minutes, legs not crossed, relaxed, no talking or movement etc) I take 12 readings (1 hour). Using either EXCEL spreadsheet or suitable calculator, I "average" the results and find the "standard deviation" of the 12 readings.

The "standard deviation" gives a single value that denotes the "spread" of the values (how much they fluctuate) from the average value.

So if I take your above values we get:

140.25 / 74.25 with a SD (standard deviation) = 7.27 / 3.3

With only 4 of your readings a systolic SD of 7 is about right, I normally get over my 12 readings a systolic SD of about 4 mm Hg, so my systolic thus "fluctuates" from 105 to 113 mm Hg.

Going back through the archives here, there is one person (who I have learned a lot from) who has the name "Machaon", who seems to be the only person who uses "standard deviation" with reference to BP in this group.

I have found very little doing net searches on the subject of "normal" standard deviation with respect BP. It is usually found in surveys as a method of showing how much bp "fluctuates" over a large "group" of people rather than what you would expect with an individuals reading.

Having (for interests sake) measured the bp of a few other people, I have noticed they all have their own distinct SD of BP. In one case although the persons average systolic hardly ever moved between readings, they could have a SD of 5 for many readings - and yet sometimes up to 15 at other (less frequent times). This to me showed how taking bp can be "difficult" to do with confidence. We have a complex and sophisticated feedback system to control normal bp in the body.

I have attempted to apply a few other statistical tests (like SKEW and KURTOSIS) to my data, but I think taking only 12 readings each time is not enough data - but "standard deviation" I have found to be very useful to get to know my own bp - and to create a benchmark for my future readings.

So the subject of "standard deviation" of BP I find very interesting, and certainly would like to learn more!

Perhaps you need to gather some more data to decide which hypertension group you really belong to. I hope that helps.

 
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Old 10-29-2008, 08:41 PM   #3
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Re: Fluctuating readings-- does one average them?

To calculate your average BP, you must take readings at various times of day, not minutes apart, but hours apart. Take them during various stages of the day, am, afternoon, dinnertime, bedtime. After you have 3 days of readings at least, you can add them all up, devide by the number of readings, and thats it.

You will find that your BP fluctuates within 20 pts. or so, and you will soon see the pattern of your personal BP range.

Best of luck!

 
Old 10-29-2008, 09:26 PM   #4
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Re: Fluctuating readings-- does one average them?

Kewi,

Interesting. So great that your b/p is low enough to do this type of research. I would love to do that as well but my b/p is not well controlled & often flips up to over 200.

I did do some research when I first got HBP just to see what ticks off my systolic. Eating ice cream (McDonald's) lows my b/p. Even calling a manufacturer to demand a refund lowers it too. My husband raising his voice increases it. Off course self made stress or other stress increases it if I don't have a clue how to handle the situation. My b/p at the Dr's usually increases it but if the nurse does the b/p correctly & is warm & caring, it is normal (120/70.)

You might be interested in biofeedback for b/p control. I took several sessions but had to drop out because my huge beta blocker dose interfered with the electonic equipment. I probably would have been a good candidate because I used lamaze breathing for childbirth sucessfully 5 times. It worked beautifully. Keep us informed about your experiments. Fam

 
Old 10-29-2008, 09:42 PM   #5
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Re: Fluctuating readings-- does one average them?

Stop taking them so close together. There is no purpose for doing that. Take it once at the same time every day on the same arm then after a week or two you will have your average. And take it when you have been resting for awhile not right after an activity or after climbing stairs or things like that.

 
Old 10-30-2008, 07:47 AM   #6
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Re: Fluctuating readings-- does one average them?

Thanks to all those that responded to my initial question. While I understand the precision of the standard deviation methodology, I think I've concluded that it's just best to follow the advice of numerous readings over the course of several days. Then I can certainly see the highs and lows, as well as the median/average scores.

 
Old 10-30-2008, 08:35 AM   #7
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Re: Fluctuating readings-- does one average them?

I've taken my blood pressure over 25,000 times, over the past 10 years, or an average of seven times per day.

Why?

I've got Heart Failure and persistent, chronic Atrial Fibrillation, and I felt that I needed to get my high blood pressure down to healthy levels in order to survive my heart diseases.

I plop myself down next to the meter at my desk, put the cuff on, and within a minute take the reading. I alternate arms. I follow the instructions that come with the BP unit, except that I don't rest before the reading.

That said, my Blood Pressure Database, from 1998 through 2004, based on about 15,000 readings, shows that I suffered from an average blood pressure of 147/93. That means that for seven, long years, with my health deteriorating, every effort, to lower my blood pressure, failed miserably. At that time I determined that, with heart failure there was no way to have a healthy blood pressure.

I was wrong about not being able to have healthy blood pressure with Heart Failure.

I enter my readings into a database and then do reports and charts by time of day, by day, by week, by month and by year. This data collection, and reporting, has helped me to better understand my blood pressure patterns, and has been invaluable in successfully getting my blood pressure down to consistently healthy readings.

Based on my 25,000 reading Blood Pressure Database, my blood pressure for 2007 through 2008 has shown an average blood pressure of 124/72, based on about 4300 readings.

These were my annual "average" blood pressure readings from 1998 through 2008.
  • 1998: 152/97, readings=1016; Standard Deviation= Systolic of 15 and Diastolic of 9
    An average of 152/97 for the ENTIRE YEAR! Is it any wonder why I was getting worse!?
  • 1999 : 146/92, readings=3599; Standard Deviation= Systolic of 14 and Diastolic of 9
    An average of 146/92, each and every day, for the entire year. Better than 1998, but still a serious health problem!
  • 2000 : 145/92, readings=3322; Standard Deviation= Systolic of 12 and Diastolic of 8
  • 2001 : 147/92, readings=2375; Standard Deviation= Systolic of 12 and Diastolic of 7
  • 2002 : 150/96, readings=1423; Standard Deviation= Systolic of 13 and Diastolic of 8
  • 2003 : 151/96, readings=1032; Standard Deviation= Systolic of 13 and Diastolic of 8
  • 2004 : 146/90, readings=2065; Standard Deviation= Systolic of 14 and Diastolic of 8
  • 2005 : 139/86, readings=2526; Standard Deviation= Systolic of 12 and Diastolic of 8
  • 2006 : 136/79, readings=3269; Standard Deviation= Systolic of 12 and Diastolic of 7
  • 2007 : 126/74, readings=2720; Standard Deviation= Systolic of 12 and Diastolic of 7
    An average of 126/74 for the entire year. There is hope that I can survive these nasty diseases!
  • 2008 : 121/72, readings=1902; Standard Deviation= Systolic of 12 and Diastolic of 7

I believe that blood pressure is a "body gauge" that reflects the health of one's body. Although high blood pressure is a major health problem all by itself, the underlying causes of the high blood pressure are the real health problems. If you fix what causes high blood pressure, you are also fixing other health problems.

Best of luck in your own blood pressure study and research.

Regards!
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⇒ I avoid common ordinary but unhealthy household items
⇒ Balanced, healthy diet
⇒ Exercise
⇒ I alter my Circadian Rhythm
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