Maintaining a healthy blood pressure (BP) is critical to avoiding long-term complications from diabetes. Monitoring your blood pressure at home using a BP monitor on a regular basis is the best way to get the information you need to be sure you are meeting your blood pressure targets.
Studies show that it isn’t just blood glucose that can contribute to diabetes complications; blood pressure and blood lipids also play a significant role. Some conditions, such as heart disease and stroke, can be greatly reduced by consistent and regular monitoring. While high blood sugars can contribute to these conditions, high blood pressure does even more so.
In general, one third of all Americans have high blood pressure. For people with diabetes, this number doubles. To complicate matters further, people with diabetes have a higher risk factor for developing high blood pressure. If this happens, the heart has to work much harder to maintain a healthy blood flow. Often, there is little warning and few symptoms. However, if unaddressed, it can lead to heart attack, heart failure, stroke or kidney failure.
Testing your blood pressure at home
The suggested target BP for people with diabetes is 140/90 on the high end of the scale, but studies show that 130/80 is more desirable. Blood pressure control has shown to reduce the incidence of stroke by 45 percent, heart disease by 25 percent, and represented a 21 percent reduction in mortality from any cause.
Home blood pressure monitoring is fast, safe, and very accurate. There are several models to choose from, some worn on the wrist, some on the arm, traditional blood pressure cuffs, and many that even “speak” your results back to you.
When monitoring your blood pressure, it is always a good idea to document your results – much as you do your blood sugars. This gives your primary care physician a way to track your health and intervene if necessary.
Some other advantages to testing your blood pressure at home:
- Blood pressure monitors are widely available, affordable, and easy to use. They are discreet, portable, and some are meant to be worn on an ambulatory basis (while you are walking around).
- Home measurements tend to be lower than they are at the doctor’s office. there is an odd phenomenon known as “white coat hypertension” that happens to many people when having their BP tested in the doctor’s office. Home monitoring removes this risk.
- More readings can be taken if blood pressure is self-managed. The more you can test, the more accurate a picture you can develop of your health over the long-term. Blood pressure tends to fluctuate a great deal throughout the day, so less frequent testing doesn’t always tell the whole story. In fact, studies show that frequent home monitoring is more effective at predicting cardiovascular risk than tests conducted at the doctor’s office.
In conclusion, monitoring blood pressure is an essential part of any diabetes treatment program. A healthy, active lifestyle combined with a proactive approach to your daily routine can help you live longer and feel better. Shop our selection of home blood pressure monitors today.