What You Need to Know to Best Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home

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If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease, most likely your doctor has encouraged you to monitor your blood pressure at home on a daily or weekly basis with a home blood pressure monitor. Yet how do you know that the readings you take are accurate? And what’s more, what do those numbers even mean?

For a brief definition, Harvard Health explains that the top number (systolic pressure) measures artery pressure at the moment the heart beats (as the heart contracts), while the bottom number (diastolic pressure) monitors the pressure between heartbeats (when your heart is resting). The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association’s guidelines for normal and high blood pressure are:

  • Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg
  • Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80
  • Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89
  • Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg

Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.
To confirm your blood pressure readings are as precise as possible, San Diego Home Caregivers, which provides senior care in Carlsbad, La Jolla and surrounding areas, offers the following tips below:

  1. Make a point to take readings at the same time each day.
  2. Take a couple of readings one minute apart and record all results for the highest level precision.
  3. Prior to the reading, make sure the person is sitting with her back straight and supported and feet flat on the floor; crossed legs can negatively influence the reading. Place the person’s arm on a flat surface, with the upper arm at the level of her heart.
  4. Make certain the middle of the cuff is positioned directly over the person’s brachial artery and fits correctly. To find the brachial artery, with the person’s arm stretched out, palm facing up, trace a line from the outside of her thumb, up the outer arm to the elbow’s bend. At that bend is the brachial artery.
  5. The person whose blood pressure you are reading should not exercise, drink caffeinated beverages, or smoke within 30 minutes preceding measuring blood pressure.
  6. The person should also remain silent and still during the reading.
  7. Have the person use the restroom prior to the reading, as a full bladder can elevate the systolic pressure.

Consumer Reports provides a beneficial blood pressure monitor buying guide that outlines what you should look for in a good home monitor.

If you or a loved one has a problem with maintaining healthy blood pressure, San Diego Home Caregivers can help – from planning and preparing nutritious meals, to picking up prescriptions and ensuring medications are taken exactly as prescribed, to helping a person stay as active as possible, and much more. We provide professional home care services in Carlsbad and the surrounding area, and are always on hand to help your loved one maintain a healthy life. To learn more, or to set up an in-depth consultation, call us today at (619) 487-9000

“If She Were a Swan”: Memorize the Signs of Heart Attack in Women

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We’ve all heard the tale pertaining to the ugly duckling who turned out to be a gorgeous swan. The apparent moral of that particular story is that some things, upon first appearance, are not what they seem to be. It is with the ugly duckling’s story in mind that San Diego Home Caregivers invites you to observe Women’s Heart Health Month with the “IF She Were a SWAN…” Challenge.

Just as with men, a woman’s most typical heart attack sign is chest pain. But while some heart attacks are sudden and powerful, the majority of them actually launch slowly with mild discomfort. The National Institutes of Health reports that the signs of heart attack in women often are displayed in physical effects for up to a month or more before undergoing the actual heart attack. Furthermore, women are somewhat more likely than men to encounter and report some of the other less expected symptoms. Use the letters in IF and SWAN to keep in mind the additional indicators to be on the lookout for which include:

  • Indigestion
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Weakness in the arms
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea/vomiting

Regardless of whether you are female or male, if you experience any of the above symptoms and think it may possibly be a heart attack, even if you’re uncertain, it is critical to find medical help right away. A difference of five minutes could save your life. Calling 911 is generally the quickest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services workers can get started on treatment up to an hour sooner than arriving at the hospital by car. They are also trained in reviving someone whose heart has stopped. People with chest pain who arrive by ambulance often receive faster treatment at the hospital.

Although it is important for everyone to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, it is particularly essential for caregivers to know what to look for when caring for their loved ones.
If you or someone you love has already suffered a heart attack and needs additional support, either at home or in a care facility, the professionals at San Diego Home Caregivers, the top providers of senior in home care San Diego families trust, can help. Contact us to schedule your care assessment at (619) 487-9000.