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home blood pressure testing
Old 11-14-2006, 10:42 AM   #1
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home blood pressure testing

At doctor's visits in the last two months my sweetheart's BP has been elevated, and now the doctor wants her to start on BP medication.

Since this has just popped up there is some suspicion that the elevated readings are mainly due to momentary stress from seeing the doctor - there are some issues with our health care providers that tend to make her very tense.

She'd like to get a good quality (trustworthy, repeatable, won't break after a short period of time) home blood pressure tester that she could use to test herself when she's calm and hasn't just trekked around the clinic and parking garage.

There is a testing machine at the local Safeway, and I could use that to cross check my readings against whatever machine she gets. She can't use the one at the store as she has a bit of lymphedema in the left arm and needs to have the checking done on the right arm.

Any recommendations?

cheers,
Michael
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-14-2006, 10:50 AM   #2
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Re: home blood pressure testing

Hi Michael,

I picked up a Panasonic monitor at Amazon for about $39.00. It's super easy to use, very portable, and supposedly accurate.

Michael
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-14-2006, 10:54 AM   #3
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Re: home blood pressure testing

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Other Michael
She'd like to get a good There is a testing machine at the local Safeway, and I could use that to cross check my readings against whatever machine she gets. She can't use the one at the store as she has a bit of lymphedema in the left arm and needs to have the checking done on the right arm.

Any recommendations?
I think Consumer Reports once rated these, might be worth a look.

Generally you should stick with one that has a cuff and acoustic tubes, skipping the wrist and finger gizmos. Omron and others make them. If she has very large arms, the standard cuffs might not fit (falsely elevated readings).

"Labile blood pressure" (e.g. white coat, other stressors) which normalizes under baseline conditions is common. It carries a risk for the usual ailments that is intermediate between normal blood pressure and sustained hypertension. A substantial number of people with labile blood pressure go on to develop sustained high blood pressure.

Her doctor and she will have to make a judgment as to whether treatment is warranted. It depends on the degree of elevation, the types of meds which are appropriate for her, and the presence of other risk factors. It's good that she is following up on this.

Anyhow, most of the cuff-based BP machines do a decent job.
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-14-2006, 01:16 PM   #4
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Re: home blood pressure testing

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Other Michael
Since this has just popped up there is some suspicion that the elevated readings are mainly due to momentary stress from seeing the doctor
There are some studies showing that this "labile" BP is a bad thing. It used to be called
"white coat hypertension" and not a bad thing, but they now think if white coats make
BP rise, then a lot of other things probably do too, and that's unhealthy.

Quote:
there are some issues with our health care providers that tend to make her very tense.
I'm not sure what you mean exactly, but it suggests maybe a change in health
care providers might be indicated.

Quote:
She'd like to get a good quality (trustworthy, repeatable, won't break after a short period of time) home blood pressure tester ...
My doctor hates 'em, made me get the "old fashioned" kind, where you listen with a
stethoscope, etc. Not that hard to learn to do. Whatever kind she gets, ALWAYS take
it into doctor visits and compare its readings to the nurse's "official" reading.

Good luck with this !
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-14-2006, 01:49 PM   #5
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Re: home blood pressure testing

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnEyles
My doctor hates 'em, made me get the "old fashioned" kind, where you listen with a
stethoscope, etc. Not that hard to learn to do.
My doctor, long ago, found that the electronic device (with tubes and cuff) was giving bad readings. They never matched the ones the nurse took. I had to get the "old fashioned" kind. Now my readings are same as doctor's office.
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-14-2006, 02:19 PM   #6
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Re: home blood pressure testing

A cheap alternative to buying one yourself is that almost ANY Fire Station has EMT's on duty who will generally give you a professional read of your BP and Pulse rate. Hey, what do we pay these taxes for anyway! If you jog you can stop by and get a reading when you are revved up and then compare it to a "resting" rate. If possible convince the Dr. with the readings to not issue the prescription -- once on this BP stuff virtually NO Dr. will ever take you off of it.
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-14-2006, 03:03 PM   #7
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Re: home blood pressure testing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Army Guy
If possible convince the Dr. with the readings to not issue the prescription -- once on this BP stuff virtually NO Dr. will ever take you off of it.
Conscientious practice would call for a trial off the drugs in the event of a meaningful lifestyle change (weight, exercise, diet, etc.). Otherwise, once present hypertension almost always comes back. May take months, but lacking illness or other unusual issues, when you have it you have it. There are always exceptions of course.

So, if you think you did something to warrant a trial of discontinuation, tell your doc. Otherwise most just take it daily and get on with their lives.
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-14-2006, 03:49 PM   #8
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Re: home blood pressure testing

We have a ReliON (brand) that we got @ WalMart for less that $50 several years ago. It's automatic and easy to use, just wrap the cuff around and press START. I use it regularly and it still does a great job. I recommend it. CR gave it high marks as I recall.
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-14-2006, 05:40 PM   #9
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Re: home blood pressure testing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Army Guy
A cheap alternative to buying one yourself is that almost ANY Fire Station has EMT's on duty who will generally give you a professional read of your BP and Pulse rate. Hey, what do we pay these taxes for anyway! If you jog you can stop by and get a reading when you are revved up and then compare it to a "resting" rate. If possible convince the Dr. with the readings to not issue the prescription -- once on this BP stuff virtually NO Dr. will ever take you off of it.
My mother used to go to the fire station to get her BP. I thought it was a local thing.

There's one a 1/4 mile or so from my house, I'll check with them.
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-14-2006, 05:42 PM   #10
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Re: home blood pressure testing

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyd
We have a ReliON (brand) that we got @ WalMart for less that $50 several years ago. It's automatic and easy to use, just wrap the cuff around and press START. I use it regularly and it still does a great job. I recommend it. CR gave it high markes as I recall.
I second that. I got a Reli On model HEM-412CREL at Walmart per my Dr.'s request about six months ago and have used it regularly since then. Easy to use. Cost about $50.

Grumpy
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-14-2006, 05:58 PM   #11
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Re: home blood pressure testing

I am very curious. Why would anyone buy a BP tester when almost every
drugstore has one for free?

JG
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-14-2006, 06:08 PM   #12
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Re: home blood pressure testing

It costs money to drive back and forth to the store (if you live too far away to walk) and I find for me it is just more practical time-wise to skip a daily trip to the store if possible. I used to stop at the store in the morning to check bp on my way to work, then stop on the way home to get an afternoon reading while I was charting my bp between annual visits (I have "white coat syndrome" too.) My husband started to take his bloodpressure daily also, and after a while we just broke down and got a cuff-style tester that works fine.

We take the tester to the doctors office to check it against his readings.
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-14-2006, 06:14 PM   #13
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Re: home blood pressure testing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tawny Dangle
It costs money to drive back and forth to the store (if you live too far away to walk) and I find for me it is just more practical time-wise to skip a daily trip to the store if possible. I used to stop at the store in the morning to check bp on my way to work, then stop on the way home to get an afternoon reading while I was charting my bp between annual visits (I have "white coat syndrome" too.) My husband started to take his bloodpressure daily also, and after a while we just broke down and got a cuff-style tester that works fine.

We take the tester to the doctors office to check it against his readings.
Okay, now I am really confused. Are you doing this because you have
some compelling medical reason (to check daily), or are you just
(pardon the expression) a bit anal about the whole issue??
Seriouly, what is it?

JG
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-14-2006, 06:43 PM   #14
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Re: home blood pressure testing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr._johngalt
I am very curious. Why would anyone buy a BP tester when almost every
drugstore has one for free?

JG
Not sure, how often stores recalabrate their machines. Daily, monthly or annually?
Guess one could ask. My wife is an RN and she bought her own. Never saw her use one at a store. Think, she would rely on her own personal device, since no one
else has had the opportunity to "Jack" with it.
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-14-2006, 06:45 PM   #15
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Re: home blood pressure testing

My doctor suggested I check my bp twice a day (morning, evening) for a while and chart it to see why my readings were so weird. Sometimes my bp is 120/60, sometimes it's as high as 140/100. Testing it at home and charting the ups and downs helped my doctor to decide if I needed meds or not. Actually it helped me stop freaking out about my blood pressure, because most of the time it is normal.

Anal? Analytical is more like it--I am methodical and I like putting things on charts! By the way, I am not still charting my bp daily. I am in a doctor-supervised weight loss program, so my blood pressure is being monitored weekly. Since I 've lost a couple dozen pounds, I've had better blood pressure.
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-14-2006, 09:57 PM   #16
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Re: home blood pressure testing

Hi
Since she always goes to the docs wouldnt the bp have been higher on earlier visits ?
One of the big issues with BP meds is that people feel fine when they dont take them . Sometimes they dont feel fine when they do take them. Unfortunately it seems you live longer if you take them .

You can look at the machines at the pharmacy or ask the pharmacist how often they are calibrated. At one place we had a problem with them so it was checked often. I think the others were not checked as much. Like anything else there is a margin of error.


You can of course use your health care account to purchase this if you one and of course money remaining
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-14-2006, 11:49 PM   #17
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Re: home blood pressure testing

Quote:
I am very curious. Why would anyone buy a BP tester when almost every
drugstore has one for free?
A friend of mine (a marathon runner with typically low BP), used one of these once. His reading was off the charts, which pretty much freaked him out. I volunteered to give it a try, in the expectation that mine would be high too and we could pass it off to a bad machine.

I was LOW! This was a Friday night and worrier that he is, this ruined his entire weekend. He went to the Dr. first thing Monday, only to find out he was perfectly normal.

I'd take anything those machines told me with a hefty dose of salt, no joke intended!
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-15-2006, 05:21 AM   #18
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Re: home blood pressure testing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline
A friend of mine (a marathon runner with typically low BP), used one of these once. His reading was off the charts, which pretty much freaked him out. I volunteered to give it a try, in the expectation that mine would be high too and we could pass it off to a bad machine.

I was LOW! This was a Friday night and worrier that he is, this ruined his entire weekend. He went to the Dr. first thing Monday, only to find out he was perfectly normal.

I'd take anything those machines told me with a hefty dose of salt, no joke intended!
Okay, but around here every drugstore/pharmacy has one.
It's pretty easy (even out here in the sticks) to check your BP on
multiple machines at multiple locations. If BP is all you are worried about
it is simple to verify without a Dr. appointment. Besides, if your friend was
off the chart high and you were "LOW", then (if it was me) I'd just ignore that machine and move on. I sure wouldn't let it "ruin my weekend".
But, that's just me.

JG
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-15-2006, 02:39 PM   #19
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Re: home blood pressure testing

Quote:
Why would anyone buy a BP tester when almost every
drugstore has one for free?
Because I just love to waste good money on my health. 8)
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Re: home blood pressure testing
Old 11-16-2006, 07:15 PM   #20
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Re: home blood pressure testing

A friend looked in his Consumer Reports and said that the Omron HEM-712C had been (along with the same machine branded as a Relion for Walmart) the pick in 2003.

We got an Omron HEM-780 today - it has a cuff that fits a wider range of sizes (instead of needing to buy an additional bigger cuff as we're both right at the top of the size range) and has a bigger memory, but the latter wasn't a concern. It also comes with the batteries and AC adapter instead of having to get them separately.

I tested myself several times using both arms and it seems to track pretty close to the numbers I've seen on some other automated machines. However, my sweetheart actually comes out on the low end of the normal scale. We'll do some more testing at various times during the day over the next week or so to see what kind of data shows up. At this point it looks like the high readings at the clinic are the anamolous data points, but it is of course too early to determine that. We'll make a point of taking the machine with us the next time either of us goes in and do an on-the-spot comparison to validate our machine's readings.

cheers,
Michael

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