Tracking your blood pressure
Looking for a blood pressure monitor? I recommend the LBPK1 from Lloyds Pharmacy. This is the one I use, and according to April’s Which? Magazine, it is the most accurate of all the monitors tested (94% accuracy) as well as being easy to use. There won’t be any pressure (hoho!) on your pocket either as it will only set you back £14.99 (recently reduced from £19.99) and the cuff, available in three sizes, is included.
The monitor also carries a seal of approval from the British Hypertension Society.
Do we really need to check our blood pressure at home? Professor Andy Shennan, the spokesman for the Society’s Blood Pressure Monitoring Committee, believes that home monitoring is essential because many people are unknowingly suffering from symptomless hypertension. This kind of high blood pressure is known as a “silent killer” because despite the lack of symptoms it wreaks extensive damage while the sufferer remains completely unaware – potential effects include stress on the heart and damage to arterial walls, increasing risk for cardiovascular disease. Hypertension in the UK is defined as persistent high blood pressure equal to or exceeding 140/90.
Taking your blood pressure at home is useful because you are away from the doctor’s surgery and there is less risk of “white coat hypertension” – high blood pressure levels caused, ironically, by the anticipation of having one’s blood pressure taken. Should you wish to record your readings, for your own benefit or maybe to forward to your doctor, the iBP app from Leading Edge Apps is a good option. You manually input your blood pressure, resting heart rate and weight and it can send these details in a format of your choosing (plain text, HTML or CSV) to yourself or your doctor via email.