May 02, 2013 - 12:42 pm
Because I'm on this drug trial and one of the possible side effects can be increased blood pressure, I decided to buy a blood pressure machine and monitor it myself at home. The first machine I bought was an inexpensive automatic one at the local pharmacy. I think it was about $25. It was useless. The readings were all over the place and made no sense. I returned it.
My son pointed me to a company called Withings that makes a scale and also a BP monitoring device that interface with my iPhone. The device had some decent reviews (but also a few bad ones, which were related to it not working at all). I tried it. In the first few weeks I was using it, my readings seemed to be consistently what my BP was (in the low 130's/high 70's). But after a few weeks I started seeing consistent readings in the low-mid 140's/low-mid 80's. I started worrying that my BP was going up because of the drug I'm taking. Two nights ago (the night before I was going to my doctor for my 6-week checkup), I measured 154/87. I talked to my uncle, and he said I should probably be put on blood pressure medicine. However, he also suggested taking my machine with me and comparing the results of my machine with the machine at my doctor's office.
I went in to the doctor yesterday morning, and when they measure my BP it was 126/76. I felt relieved. I brought my device out and measure it, and once again it measured 144/86. We went back and forth a few times, and the doctor's machine (which is also automatic, but uses disposable, paper cuffs), measured high 120's or low 130's/high 70's or low 80's. One of the 3 measurements I did on the doctor's machine, did measure 86 for the bottom number, but the upper numbers were all much lower than on my machine. I decided my machine isn't reliable. My doctor completely set aside my worries (because all my blood tests were normal, he doubted I was having increased blood pressure from the drug).
Later that day, though, I was in the pharmacy and decided to try their public machine. It measured 144/87. But I had been walking quite a bit before that...
Has anyone had good luck with auomatic BP machines at home? How do you find one that is reliable? Do you have to spend a lot of money to get a good machine? (The one I bought that interfaces to my iPhone was over a $100, so not cheap). Any recommendations on a good, inexpensive, automatic machine would be appreciated. Is it possible to take your own blood pressure the old way? If that would be more reliable, I wouldn't mind doing that.
Because I have only 1 kidney, I want to be careful about my BP. High BP can damage kidneys over time, from what I've read.