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Old 12-13-2014, 08:03 PM   #21
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Home monitoring of pulse rate for screening purposes lacks evidence of benefit, though it may be useful as a measure of fitness or to follow known arrhythmias.
From what I've read, your pulse rate can indeed be a pretty good indicator of fitness level. There are charts available that tell you what a "good" or "excellent" pulse rate should be, for your age. I've been able to bring my resting pulse rate down a bit the last few years (from about 70 to around 63-65) through more frequent exercise, and I feel pretty good about that. The blood pressure monitor that I have also measures pulse rate, by the way. I always take my BP after sitting still for at least 10-15 minutes, and that seems to work pretty well.
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Old 12-13-2014, 08:17 PM   #22
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I trust the BP measurements I make at home more than the readings taken at a health care provider, the reason being that I am at rest, relaxed, and can take multiple measurements if necessary to be sure that it is correct.

One of my BP monitors can take 3 successive readings and average them. Still, one thing that I observe is that many years ago, the readings were within 5mm Hg of one another. Now, it can vary 10 to 15mm Hg. Yet, the readings taken with my wife stay consistent. Perhaps something is wrong with me.
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Old 12-14-2014, 02:07 PM   #23
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I trust the BP measurements I make at home more than the readings taken at a health care provider, the reason being that I am at rest, relaxed, and can take multiple measurements if necessary to be sure that it is correct.
+1, Omron user as well and frankly, I trust it more than some of the nurses who have taken my pressure in the Drs office using poor technique.
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Old 12-14-2014, 05:05 PM   #24
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A caveat on taking blood pressure. Doesn't happen to everyone, but it does for me.
Even at the doctor's office, we take my blood pressure twice. The first time is usually about 15 to 20 points higher than the retake. Typically the first time 135/75 then five minutes later 115/70. Initially the doctor thought it was because the cuff would restrict the vessels on the first "take" and then expand on the retake. 2nd take is always lower, whether taken immediately or after 15 minutes.
After trying it in different arms, or wrist or the leg, the same thing happens.
Always higher the first time. Happens at home and in different doctors offices.
We have two Omron machines, and they always agree within a few points. BP and pulse.
Found this that could be a possibility:

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It’s probably not just the “white coat” but also a stressful, busy, and noisy environment. Often the BP is taken immediately on arrival with no period of quiet sitting. Many people don’t even remove the cuff and retake the BP immediately after the first reading. I’ve examples where the first measurement is 180/110, the second is 150/80 and when I take it it is 110/70. Heart rate also declined comparably. Fit, muscular people with high lean body mass often show a high initial blood pressure reading. Power/weight training and power cycling (e.g. at ~350W and above) can lead to 20 mm Hg higher DBP on first reading for several days.
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Old 12-14-2014, 05:55 PM   #25
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It drives me crazy that at my docs office, they sit me down and immediately take my BP with a device and make me answer questions about my medical history while they take it!

I've been monitoring mine at home recently because it's been creeping up a little this year.
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Old 12-14-2014, 06:23 PM   #26
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I find it hard to believe that anyone at the docs' office is laid back and relaxed.

First, there is usually a good reason to be there, like feeling sick.
Second, even if one has been waiting for 20 minutes or so to be ushered into the exam room, the underlying issue that brought in is still a gnawing away at the psyche, hardly a relaxing thing.

Having to answer answer questions while getting BP taken is sure drive up the pressure.

OTOH none of that shuld put one in the red zone if in good shape.

I tend to run about 5 points higher in docs office than at home. I usually measure an hour before heading to the doc's, once a year, often less in the last 6 years.
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Old 12-16-2014, 07:06 PM   #27
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I use the "Walgreens Manual Inflate Blood Pressure Kit" $16.99, old school style.
I got this one today and it works fine with consistent readings, a bit higher than at the doc's office today but that may be from a number of factors, including simple calibration errors. But consistency was the main thing I was looking for and I have that to spot a trend up or down.
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Old 12-16-2014, 07:24 PM   #28
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Omron and ReliOn are the same brand. My son did a science fair project about BP, so I use the Omron he bought for that. It is very reliable in contrast to the wrist monitor used in the dentist office. I think the variability stems from how tight one puts on the cuff to start with. It should be very snug and not just fairly snug.

I used to have a job measuring BP and pulse of hospital patients. I don't see how a manual BP setup (stethoscope, mercury manometer). The cuff is the same.

I suggest using an Omron and try various ways of putting the cuff on. Yes, put the cuff on wrong and see the results. Put the cuff on right, but change the snugness over a range. You will soon figure out what the snugness needs to be to get a consistent reading. And if you cannot, then get your nurse to show you how.
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:40 AM   #29
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Alan, a heart rate of 36 or 35 does not sound normal. The last 2 people I saw with a heart rate in that range ended up with a pacemaker.
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Old 12-18-2014, 08:54 AM   #30
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Alan, a heart rate of 36 or 35 does not sound normal. The last 2 people I saw with a heart rate in that range ended up with a pacemaker.
Mine got down in that range, I felt bad. Dizzy like I was going to pass out. Went to the ER, they were pretty concerned, that's a bit of an understatement. Reviewing my meds I had been on atenolol(beta blocker for BP) for a long time. Not sure if it was the length of time I was on it or something else changed, but my BP medicine was changed. Resting rate more like 60, and I don't feel like passing out all the time.

I gather from your post that's not your situation. But don't go walking around feeling like your passing out without telling your doc(In other words don't be as stupid as I was).

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Old 12-18-2014, 09:57 AM   #31
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The other inexpensive equipment that may be also helpful is a pulse oximeter. I purchased one from Amazon for about $30 a couple of years ago when I had a mild upper respiratory virus and was having related shortness of breath. I use it now occasionally just as a trending monitor and find it helpful.

Oxygen saturation in the blood is dependent on several factors but keeping it between 90-100% is important to our overall health. It's very easy to use and maintain.
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Old 12-18-2014, 10:27 AM   #32
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I have an app on my iPhone called "Instant Heartrate". You put your finger over the camera lens and it monitors for 10-15 seconds and tells you your Heartrate. I've checked it against the manual method and it's good. Not that counting is hard, but the app is easier (and it was free).


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Old 12-18-2014, 11:04 AM   #33
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I mentioned in a previous Post that we have no medical need to monitor these data. My concerns run along these lines:


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Old 12-18-2014, 03:30 PM   #34
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I have the "CVS Premium BP3MV1-3WCVS Item# 800230" that Consumer Reports rated highest and a Best Buy. $66 It has performed great for over a year.
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Old 12-19-2014, 07:35 PM   #35
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Of course, we have no medical reason to monitor our BP -- only curiosity -- so this recommendation may not be for everyone.
Well, sometimes we do have a reason. As noted in the original post in the past I didn't concern myself with BP and pulse rate that much because it was always in the normal range anyway. What prompted my query was that now I get a weekly call from a nurse who works for the health insurance company to discuss lifestyle issues that affect health. The objective of this program is to keep me out of the hospital after having two overlapping stents in a heart artery last summer and then an incident of atrial fibrillation a few months later.

Now, I am generally as suspicious of insurance companies as anyone but I think in this instance the insurance company (BCBS) and I do have a parallel interest - keeping me out of the hospital. They don't want to pay for it and I sure don't want to be there!

And one of the things this nurse keeps asking is "What is your resting BP and pulse rate?" While I could give her the numbers from the last doctor's office visit and get a pulse rate with a watch and a finger, I didn't have any way to stay current on BP. Hence the reason to monitor it.
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Old 12-19-2014, 09:17 PM   #36
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Alan, a heart rate of 36 or 35 does not sound normal. The last 2 people I saw with a heart rate in that range ended up with a pacemaker.
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Mine got down in that range, I felt bad. Dizzy like I was going to pass out. Went to the ER, they were pretty concerned, that's a bit of an understatement. Reviewing my meds I had been on atenolol(beta blocker for BP) for a long time. Not sure if it was the length of time I was on it or something else changed, but my BP medicine was changed. Resting rate more like 60, and I don't feel like passing out all the time.

I gather from your post that's not your situation. But don't go walking around feeling like your passing out without telling your doc(In other words don't be as stupid as I was).

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Thanks for the info guys. I never feel any different the odd times my HR gets that low and the last EKG I had at the docs during an annual physical was 39, after which he sent me for a treadmill stress test. The cardio Doc said the stress test results were "spectacular, and I mean spectacular".

I take my BP and HR at least once a week and the HR is usually in the low 50's, high 40's, but the odd one in the 30's does worry me. I will continue to monitor and report such findings to my Doc, but if he isn't worried then I think I am okay. No family history of cardiac arrest anywhere, or heart disease come to that. Fingers crossed.
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Old 12-19-2014, 10:25 PM   #37
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If I feel a bit odd, I take my blood pressure, and then if it's more or less normal, I don't worry about it.
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Old 12-20-2014, 12:25 AM   #38
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Thanks for the info guys. I never feel any different the odd times my HR gets that low and the last EKG I had at the docs during an annual physical was 39, after which he sent me for a treadmill stress test. The cardio Doc said the stress test results were "spectacular, and I mean spectacular".

I take my BP and HR at least once a week and the HR is usually in the low 50's, high 40's, but the odd one in the 30's does worry me. I will continue to monitor and report such findings to my Doc, but if he isn't worried then I think I am okay. No family history of cardiac arrest anywhere, or heart disease come to that. Fingers crossed.
Nice work. Lacking other factors, if you achieved >= 10 METS your coronary risk annually is very favorable. IMHO that trumps the low pulse which is mostly likely a sign of very efficient pumping of the left ventricle. This year my brother died with advanced coronary disease and I had my first-ever stress test (actually a stress echo) - got my 65 y.o heart to 11 METS...no guarantees but quite reassuring.

See my signature for the usual disclaimers, but you can be on my x-country team any day.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 12-20-2014, 09:50 AM   #39
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Well, sometimes we do have a reason.
Oh! I meant We (DW & I) personally. I didn't mean to imply that BP monitoring was unnecessary by any means. Sorry for the lack of clarity.
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Old 12-20-2014, 10:54 AM   #40
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Nice work. Lacking other factors, if you achieved >= 10 METS your coronary risk annually is very favorable. IMHO that trumps the low pulse which is mostly likely a sign of very efficient pumping of the left ventricle. This year my brother died with advanced coronary disease and I had my first-ever stress test (actually a stress echo) - got my 65 y.o heart to 11 METS...no guarantees but quite reassuring.

See my signature for the usual disclaimers, but you can be on my x-country team any day.
Thanks for the info Rich, good to know.

Congratulations on such good results for your stress test.

A good result on a stress test has got to be less stressful even though there are no guarantees.
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