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Is Your Family's Blood Pressure Normal?

Nov 5, 2007
Getting an accurate evaluation of your blood pressure can be tricky. Blood pressure can vary in some people over a wide range during a typical day without their awareness. Therefore, a single measurement taken randomly may not tell the whole story. Many factors can influence variations, but an important factor is stress. Since most occupations involve job stress, measurements taken at work may provide a more realistic appraisal of true blood pressure. Statistical analysis of several measurements can also be helpful. Such factors as the median blood pressure, average blood pressure, and standard deviation of the measurements can assist your physician in evaluating your true blood pressure during every day activities, not just in the doctor's office. Home measurements coupled with your physician's in-office measurements will provide a more-rounded evaluation.

When you consider the importance of your family's heart health, you should be aware of all of your family's average blood pressure, variation, and range. An occasional random measurement is not enough information for an accurate result. A clearer picture of true blood pressure requires several Measurements at various times of day. However, if these measurements are taken only early in the morning before setting off to work, in the evening, or on weekends when people tend to be more relaxed, actual blood pressure may be higher than these measurements suggest. Without measurements during the higher-stress periods one would not be aware of their peak blood pressure and true average.

It is more beneficial to know your family members' blood pressure profiles over a span of hourly periods and over several days based on a sufficient number of measurements to provide a statistically accurate average that reflects the higher-stress times of day. This information would be useful for determining whether to consult with a physician or pediatrician for further testing and a professional diagnosis. The physician could then recommend life-style changes, dietary modifications, or weight loss, all of which can positively contribute to lowering blood pressure. In many cases, depending on the degree of elevated blood pressure, the physician may also prescribe medication to lower blood pressure.

There are several ways to take blood pressure measurements. Random reading can be taken at a local pharmacy blood pressure stations, available at most. You can also purchase an inexpensive wrist, finger, or arm-cuff monitor for your family at most pharmacies, medical supply stores, electronic stores, discount stores, or on the Internet. Many are available for $40 or less. These units provide a convenient and compact way to take frequent measurements at home and at work.

Keeping a record of these measurements and analyzing them for low, average, median, high readings, and trends can provide more insight into your personal variations or "profile". The record will also provide your physician with real-life data between office visits and can measure progress during treatment for high blood pressure.

Don't rely on a few random measurements to assess your family's blood pressure. The health of ones cardiovascular system, kidneys, and eyes (vision) can be harmed by undetected elevated blood pressure. High blood pressure untreated can also lead to heart attacks and strokes.
About the Author
The Blood Pressure Profiler tracking software was developed by Arthur ("Art") Lewis, an engineer and manager in the manufacturing and telecommunications industry for 29 years and graduate of Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration (PMD-18, Dec., 1969). This website was launched to offer the tracking software and to provide insight for others into their daily blood pressure trends at home and in the work environment. You can download Blood Pressure Profiler software from http://www.bloodpressureprofiler.com/Download.html or purchase it on CD by credit card or by mail order from http://www.bloodpressureprofiler.com/gpage.html . Several versions are available: Standard Version, Advanced Version, Family Version, and Physicians Version. Select the one that meets your needs.
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