The AMA this week featured an article reminding us that we can prevent 1 of 3 deaths from cardiovascular disease, the number one killer in America.
Awareness of hypertension (high blood pressure) is important for reducing mortality from stroke, kidney disease and other vascular events (like heart attack and abdominal aortic rupture). Home blood pressure monitors are very affordable.
Treating or looking at just office or hospital blood pressures can be very misleading. People often show artificially high blood pressures in these settings and can easily get over medicated if that is the only information your doctor or health provider has.
Rather than waiting for a medical evaluation or event to record your blood pressure, I would recommend investing in a good digital arm unit and record your morning blood pressure from time to time. Hypertension is not diagnosed with a single measurement, rather monitoring for trends and averages is how a doctor decides to treat elevated blood pressure. In general resting morning blood pressures should be under 140/90.
The Million Hearts program features an award winning mobile app from the famous Marshfield Clinic that can be downloaded for free to help you monitor and record your blood pressure. Patients in my practice can also download and report their recorded blood pressures using our e-portal access link. As I am often heard counseling my patients- “a chance to measure is a chance to improve”.