Most people know they can have their blood pressure taken when they see a doctor. Even dentists have begun including blood pressure in their initial analysis of a patient. There are also blood pressure machines located in pharmacies throughout the country. But did you know it’s possible to take your blood pressure at home?
Not only is it possible, it’s a good idea—especially if you’ve ever experienced an out of the norm reading. At home monitoring of your blood pressure is a great way to keep track of what affects your blood pressure and whether or not you’re facing a problem. Whether you have high blood pressure, low diastolic blood pressure, or even normal blood pressure, taking your blood pressure in the comfort of your home is also a great way to get an accurate reading and sense of how healthy you really are.
Of course, if you’re going to put in the effort to take your blood pressure at home, you’ll want a way to keep track of it. Many blood pressure monitors allow you to store your results for 60 or 100 or more days, but the information that’s stored with it is basic. You might see the date and time, in addition to your blood pressure reading, but you won’t be able to compile much other information. So, unless you’re able to remember everything you want to remember about taking your blood pressure on any given day, it’s a good idea to invest in a blood pressure log.
Blood pressure is affected by a number of factors: time of day, what you’ve eaten, what activities you’ve engaged in, what’s going on in your life, etc. Just about everything you do every day can have an effect on your blood pressure reading. This means that on any given day, if you have an abnormal reading, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a serious problem. It means you’ve had problems that day, but it doesn’t mean your blood pressure is a serious health concern.
The main reason you want to keep a printable blood pressure log is that it will help you establish patterns. You’ll be able to see that in the morning you tend to get a higher reading than the evening, or when you’ve first arrived home from work your BP is much higher than at other times of the day. Likewise, if you’ve had too little sleep, your blood pressure tends to be higher.
Whatever your specific circumstances, a blood pressure log can help you identify patterns and determine first, if there’s a problem, and second, what you can do to alleviate that problem.
Your Own Version of Normal
Another important reason to keep a printable blood pressure log is that it helps you establish what’s normal for you. Blood pressure guidelines vary. There’s a big window of what’s normal, what’s a little high, and what’s very high. Different doctors will tell you different things, so it’s tough to tell whether you’re in a danger zone, a let’s-wait-and-see-zone, or a normal zone.
The best way to determine normal is to establish your own personal normal. Granted, if you’re suffering from hypertension, your normal blood pressure levels might not be healthy. However, it’s still important to know your daily normal versus a spike that could indicate a health emergency. And, if you’re able to begin monitoring your blood pressure before you have a problem, you’ll know exactly what is normal for you and know when to take action if anything changes.
Healthy blood pressure guidelines are just that: guidelines. They can help you determine a generally healthy range and look at where you usually fall within that range. But if you really want to get a feel for your body and how healthy your heart is, you need to be logging your blood pressure readings and keeping track of anything that changes. Logging your results is also a great way to get a concrete sense of what works for you and what doesn’t. For instance, after eating a takeout meal that’s likely high in sodium, take your blood pressure and record your results. The next day, take your BP after a healthy home cooked meal and compare the results. A “black and white” comparison such as this is a great way to get a sense of how your everyday choices affect your health.
Finding a Blood Pressure Log that Works for You
Now that’s you’ve committed to monitoring your blood pressure and keeping track of the results, you’ll want to invest in a blood pressure log. Here are a few of our favorite choices.
This 120-page book is hardbound and allows you to keep track of your daily blood pressure monitoring. It features ruled number pages and fields by subject, date, and number. It’s hardbound, so you don’t need to worry about its durability or a torn cover. This 8.5X11” book also allows you to record your heart rate.
It retails for around $25 plus shipping.
This book, written by Michael V. Greenberg and Brooke C. Greenberg, is a great tool for recording your blood pressure and learning about why it matters. The Blood Pressure Log gives you pre-made tables that make recording and reading your results easy. The book also features a number of other helpful features that keep you organized and make it easy to share your numbers with your doctor. There are spaces in the book to record blood pressure readings, pulse rate, and notes about the day. You can also input doctors’ appointments, questions you want to ask during the appointment, and any information or medication information your doctor gives you. The authors have also included tips for monitoring and caring for your BP.
This book retails for around $13.
This comprehensive book allows you to keep track of your blood pressure and plenty of other health information. It helps you record your medication, so you won’t forget if you’ve taken your pills on a daily basis, and allows you to keep track of your blood sugar and pulse.
This book retails for around $13.