Knowing how to accurately measure your blood pressure at home can be beneficial for your doctor to diagnose and treat high blood pressure, a condition that can have negative effects on the heart, kidneys, and brain.
Regularly having your blood pressure checked is important for adults and should be done at least once a year.
If your blood pressure reading at the doctor's office is higher than the healthy range, it is recommended to repeat the measurement outside of a clinic setting before starting treatment, according to guidelines from the US Preventive Services Task Force. However, there are other reasons why your doctor may advise you to regularly monitor your blood pressure at home.
Home monitoring is useful in the following situations:
- To determine if your blood pressure is truly higher than normal, as some people may experience elevated blood pressure only at the doctor's office, known as white-coat hypertension.
- If your doctor asks you to track your readings to help decide if medication is necessary to lower your blood pressure.
- If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and need to adjust your medications to reach your blood pressure target.
- If you are pregnant or have recently given birth, and your healthcare team is concerned about preeclampsia, a severe form of high blood pressure that can cause harm to vital organs.
When choosing a home blood pressure monitor, it is important to select a validated device that has been independently reviewed for accuracy. Avoid using monitors with wrist or fingertip cuffs, as they are not as accurate as upper-arm cuffs. Additionally, ensure that you choose the right size cuff for your upper arm, as using a cuff that is too small or too loose can result in incorrect readings.
While basic models can cost as little as $25, more expensive models ranging from $50 to $100 may offer added convenience, such as storing multiple readings and sending data to your computer or smartphone, or directly to your doctor's office patient portal.
Here are three key points to remember about blood pressure readings:
1. Blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day, so one isolated reading is not sufficient for an accurate assessment.
2. Checking your blood pressure when you are upset or stressed can lead to higher readings. Taking multiple readings consistently provides a more reliable assessment.
3. Consult with your doctor about how often and at what time of day you should take your blood pressure. The gold standard for home monitoring is to take 28 separate measurements over seven consecutive days and average them. However, even 12 measurements over three days, including a weekend day, can be reasonable.
To obtain an accurate blood pressure reading, it is important to avoid common mistakes. Wait at least 30 minutes after smoking, consuming caffeine or alcohol, or exercising before measuring your blood pressure. These activities can affect your heart rate and blood vessels, potentially leading to inaccurate readings. Additionally, empty your bladder before measuring your blood pressure, as a full bladder can put pressure on your kidneys and raise blood pressure.
When measuring your blood pressure, sit comfortably with your arm supported near heart height. Avoid crossing your legs, as this can temporarily raise blood pressure. Sit quietly and undistracted for a few minutes before taking a reading. Make sure to wrap the cuff around your bare arm, about an inch above the crook of your elbow, and start the machine to measure your blood pressure.
Diagnosing and treating high blood pressure is crucial, as nearly half of all adults have this condition, and many are unaware of it. High blood pressure can lead to serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, and cognitive decline. It is often referred to as the silent killer because its effects are not felt or experienced until it is too late.
Remember to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice on monitoring your blood pressure at home and managing your overall health.
Although the kidneys are one of the most vital organs in the human body, many individuals are unaware of their importance or how to maintain them healthy. Kidneys are bean-shaped organs around the size of your fist that are placed directly under your ribcage in the posterior region of your belly. Normally, each human being will have two kidneys.
What are the functions of the Kidney?
The Kidneys perform a range of duties, including filtering blood and generating urine, as well as manufacturing hormones.
1. They also generate Erythropoietin, a hormone that regulates red blood cell synthesis.
2. Blood pressure regulation by Renin, a kidney-produced enzyme.
3. Elimination of (toxic) wastes.
4. The kidneys synthesize an active form of Vitamin D, which is necessary for strong, healthy bones.
5. Water balance maintenance: Excess Water Removal from the Body, etc.
6. Detoxifies the body of drugs and their byproducts.
Kidney disease symptoms
Pain in the abdomen.
Flanking pain (side of the abdomen).
vomiting (may vomit blood).
Urine production is decreased.
If the patient's condition becomes serious enough, he or she may begin speaking irrationally or getting easily irritated.
Numerous illness disorders can impact your kidneys, including the following:
Acute Kidney Injury (AKI): This is a condition in which the kidneys lose their ability to filter wastes from the body abruptly. It manifests abruptly over hours or days. The majority of cases of AKI are due to decreased blood supply to the kidneys. This decreased blood flow could be due to a low blood volume following bleeding, extensive vomiting or diarrhoea, or severe dehydration. Additionally, herbal mixtures and sepsis (when bacterial infections reach the bloodstream) are significant causes of AKI.
Treatment entails (aggressively) restoring lost fluid or blood, addressing the underlying cause, and, in some situations, dialysis (a process of using a machine to artificially remove excess waste and water from the body).
Glomerulonephritides: A set of disorders that affect the kidney's main filtration unit, causing inflammation. It is frequently accompanied by hypertension, bloody urine, and/or foamy urine. Typically, diagnosis is made in the laboratory and may require a biopsy (a procedure whereby part of the kidney is taken for testing).
Pyelonephritis: This is a kidney infection. Typically, when a person has an untreated urinary tract infection, the infection will migrate up the urinary tract and harm the kidneys. Patients with this illness frequently present with a fever, back, side, or groin pain. Additionally, frequent urinating may occur. Antibiotics are frequently used in treatment.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): This is a condition in which the kidneys gradually lose function until they fail to function completely (properly). It is frequently caused by an underlying kidney condition. The most common causes are hypertension and diabetes. Long-term usage of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, and others can also cause kidney damage and result in CKD. Although the symptoms are typically non-specific, they can eventually result in swelling (Edema) of the leg (due to increased water retention), anaemia (due to decreased Erythropoietin, which aids in blood synthesis), and weak bones (because of vitamin D deficiency). Typically, treatment entails treating or controlling pre-existing diseases in order to prevent renal failure from progressing. Once a patient's kidneys have failed, he or she may require dialysis.
Kidney Stones: These are created as a result of the body's accumulation of certain minerals and salts. When the kidneys strive to eliminate wastes from the body through urine, if there is insufficient water in the body, some of these wastes clump together to form stones. Kidney stones can be excruciatingly painful. Typically, the discomfort occurs in the back, sides, or groin and occurs intermittently (comes and goes). Bloody urination may also occur in some people if the stones create damage to the urinary system. Typically, management entails drinking plenty of water. If this does not work, several procedures can be performed to break the stones. Additionally, the following factors predispose you to kidney stones: Consuming a high-protein, high-sodium (salt), and high-sugar diet; also, obesity is a risk factor for kidney stones.
How to Prevent Kidney diseases?
Monitor and Control Your Blood Pressure: Approximately half of those who have high blood pressure are unaware they have it. As a result, it is critical to monitor your blood pressure as part of your routine physical examination, especially if you are in your middle years (from 35 years and above). Maintain a blood pressure reading of less than 140/90mmhg, preferably around 120/80mg.
Exercise on a Regular Basis: Moderate exercise on a regular basis helps maintain appropriate body weight and lowers blood pressure. Exercise has also been demonstrated to aid in the maintenance of a normal blood sugar level in diabetic patients by boosting insulin sensitivity (diabetes is characterised by low insulin or Reduced sensitivity to insulin in the body). Exercise helps prevent Chronic Kidney Disease by assisting in the maintenance of ideal body weight, blood pressure, and sugar level.
Go to the hospital when you're sick: Getting medical help as soon as you feel sick is one of the best methods to live a healthy life. If you wait too long, it may be too late. When bacteria enter the bloodstream, they can induce sepsis, which can progress to kidney failure. As a result, it is critical to treat any potential infections promptly.
Avoid Prolonged NSAID Use: This is especially important for those who suffer from chronic pain. Common pain drugs such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, and piroxicam, among others, can cause kidney damage if taken on a daily basis (they can also cause stomach ulcers). Additionally, in patients with pre-existing kidney disease or decreased kidney function, even a few dosages might be harmful to the kidneys. Consult your physician for the most appropriate pain medication.
Drink Plenty of Fluids: Water is critical for human survival. As previously said, dehydration can result in Kidney Stones and Acute Kidney Injury; therefore, it is critical to stay hydrated at all times. The amount of water an adult should drink daily varies according to climate (how hot it is), activity level, body size, but it is typically recommended to consume about 2-3 litres of water everyday. To avoid fluid overload in patients who already have kidney disease or heart failure, their fluid intake should be managed by a physician.
Eat a Healthy Diet: Eating a healthy diet will help you maintain optimal body weight, lower your blood pressure, and prevent diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic kidney disease-related diseases. Additionally, it is critical to limit salt intake, since it has been linked to elevated blood pressure and increased fluid retention. The recommended daily sodium intake is 5-6 grams. This includes salt that is already present in your diet. (around a teaspoon).
Avoid Herbal Medications: Ingestion of herbal medications is a leading cause of acute renal damage (in young patients). Herbal drugs contain a high concentration of toxins, which cause significant harm to the kidneys. Around 25% of the blood that the heart pumps flow through the kidneys, which means that any toxins in the blood will also pass to the kidneys and cause harm. Additionally, certain herbal combinations produce severe diarrhoea, which results in dehydration and Renal Failure.
Monitor and Control Your Blood Sugar: Approximately half of the diabetic individuals are unaware of their disease. Therefore, as part of your routine physical examination, check your blood sugar levels. Additionally, if you find that you are urinating frequently (more than usual), particularly at night, experiencing extreme thirst, or if you have a difficult-to-heal ulcer, you should check your blood sugar immediately. Many diabetic individuals already have kidney damage; however, this can be avoided or minimized with proper diabetes care. Regularly monitor your kidney function using blood and urine testing.
Avoid Cigarettes: Smoking appears to be associated with nearly every disease in the human body. Apart from the fact that smoking doubles the risk of kidney cancer, it also decreases blood supply to the kidneys, resulting in decreased renal function.
Now that we've learned about some of the important functions of our kidneys, as well as the diseases that can affect them and how to prevent them, let's look at how we can keep our kidneys healthy. Living with end-stage renal disease is extremely stressful for the patient, so let's take the necessary precautions.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.