One in three Americans (approximately 70 million adults) has high blood pressure. More than half of those people fail to keep their blood pressure under control.*
High blood pressure can complicate, and even cause, several serious health problems, such as strokes, heart disease, and kidney disease. Monitoring your blood pressure numbers and keeping them within a healthy range is vital to your long-term good health and quality of life.
Why You Should Monitor Your Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is divided into two main numbers—your systolic pressure (the top number) and your diastolic pressure (the bottom number). Your systolic pressure is a measurement of the pressure in your arteries as your heart beats. The diastolic number is a measure of the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats when your heart is at rest.
Normal blood pressure is a systolic pressure reading of less than 120 and a diastolic pressure reading of less than 80. High blood pressure is a systolic number of 140 or more, or a diastolic number of 90 or higher. A systolic number of 180 or more or a diastolic number of 110 or more is a hypertensive (extremely high blood pressure) crisis—meaning it requires emergency medical care. Monitoring your blood pressure regularly can help you recognize and avert a hypertensive crisis.
Several factors can affect your blood pressure reading, such as recent physical activity, sodium intake, and water consumption. These variables are why your doctor often takes your blood pressure reading after you have had a chance to sit for a few minutes. If you are monitoring your blood pressure, be sure to remain relatively calm and sedentary for several minutes before beginning.
The Benefits of Self-Monitoring Your Blood Pressure
While having your blood pressure periodically monitored by your doctor is part of your regular physical exams, self-monitoring can give you information that helps you keep your blood pressure under control. 72% percent of patients who use home monitoring have their blood pressure under control within six weeks, compared to just 52% of those who rely solely on their doctors’ readings.
Monitoring your blood pressure allows you to keep track of how certain activities and diet changes may affect your blood pressure negatively, which helps you eliminate harmful health practices. Regular monitoring also helps keep you aware of sudden drops or spikes in your blood pressure that could indicate serious health problems requiring immediate medical attention.
In addition to the major health benefits of keeping your blood pressure under control, home monitoring has additional advantages. Monitoring your blood pressure regularly puts you in control of your health and helps take the uncertainty out of doctors’ appointments.
Home monitoring and the added wellness benefits also help you save money. Blood pressure monitoring kits cost about $50 to $100. You can also check to see if your local pharmacy has blood pressure monitoring services. Smith-Caldwell Drug Store has a free blood pressure monitoring machine in their pharmacy, and pharmacists available to assist you in using it.
You can potentially save thousands each year by lowering your chances of developing diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease. Stop by Smith-Caldwell and utilize the free blood pressure monitoring available to you today.
If you have questions about why you should monitor your blood pressure, contact Smith-Caldwell Drugstore at 501-392-5470 to schedule Blood Pressure Monitoring with one of our experienced pharmacists.
*According to the CDC
**Photo courtesy of www.medisave.co.uk through Flickr