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Should You Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home?

There’s no way to sugarcoat the reality of hypertension (high blood pressure). Hypertension is a primary cause of heart disease, and heart disease is the top cause of death in women and men.

The most remarkable fact about hypertension is that it’s preventable. Why don’t most people take steps to keep their blood pressure in the healthy range? Because they don’t know they have hypertension.

Hypertension doesn’t cause symptoms. Your blood pressure can continuously increase for years and you won’t have a clue. For many, the first sign of a problem is a heart attack or stroke.

Measuring your blood pressure is the only way to know if you have hypertension. Home monitoring is an exceptional tool for ensuring healthy blood pressure — but does that mean you should do it?

Some people absolutely should monitor their blood pressure at home. However, anyone can choose to track their blood pressure to protect their health.

The Midwest Regional Health Services team provides preventive care and exceptional long-term management of hypertension. Our recommendations for home monitoring depend on each person’s unique health needs.

Our team offers the following guidelines to help you decide whether to check your blood pressure at home.

Routine blood pressure screening

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is a group of medical experts who determine the health screening recommendations followed by physicians and medical organizations.

The USPSTF recommends yearly blood pressure screening if you’re 40 years or older or have a high risk of developing hypertension. You can screen less frequently if you’re under 40 years old and healthy.

However, people of all ages may need to check their blood pressure more than once a year if they have certain health concerns.

When to monitor blood pressure at home

The health concerns that require more frequent blood pressure screenings are the main reasons for home monitoring. We may also recommend checking your blood pressure at home to obtain accurate readings.

Here are three reasons to consider monitoring your blood pressure at home:

Elevated blood pressure

You may have elevated blood pressure that isn’t high enough to qualify as hypertension. For elevated readings, we recommend changing your diet, getting more exercise, losing weight, and stopping smoking — steps that often lower your blood pressure and prevent hypertension.

Home blood pressure monitoring is important if you have elevated blood pressure. Tracking your measurements alerts you if your blood pressure keeps rising. Seeing the numbers may also motivate you to stick with your lifestyle plan.

Questionable in-office measurements

In-office blood pressure readings aren’t always reliable. People often feel anxious, worried, or stressed when visiting the office. As a result, their blood pressure skyrockets and we can’t get an accurate measurement.

This problem is so common it has a name: white coat syndrome, a temporary increase in blood pressure when seeing the doctor.

The best way to determine your average blood pressure is to check it at home. Your blood pressure naturally fluctuates during the day, so we discuss how often and when to take your blood pressure to get the best results.

Diagnosed with certain health conditions

Some health conditions directly cause hypertension. High blood pressure also leads to certain chronic health problems. In both cases, untreated hypertension results in progressively worsening disease.

Hypertension causes:

Health conditions affecting your body’s ability to control sodium, fluid, and hormone levels can cause hypertension. Your risk for hypertension is higher if you have any of the following:

Hypertension is the second most common cause of kidney disease.  At the same time, CKD also leads to hypertension, and uncontrolled blood pressure worsens kidney disease.

Home blood monitoring is essential if you have kidney disease or other medical conditions associated with high blood pressure. Regularly checking your blood pressure allows us to adjust your treatment as needed to control hypertension.

You can prevent hypertension and keep it well controlled with support from the Midwest Regional Health Services team. Call our Omaha, Nebraska, office today to schedule a consultation or blood pressure screening, or to learn if home monitoring can protect your health.

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