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I decided to run an experiment last week, after a single blood pressure reading was high and got me concerned. I wondered about the circumstances, the machine itself, and, of course, my actual cardiovascular state of health. And I thought, "If I can get a NORMAL reading out of that same gizmo, under any or some circumstances, then I'll have a better idea of what that high reading meant."
So my neighbor let me borrow the sphygmomanometer, to take it through a 24-hour period, beginning with after-dinner reclining, through later evening, pre-rising in the morning, while getting ready for work, at work, arriving home, while making dinner, after-dinner reclining while opening mail, etc.
The most important information I gleaned was that blood pressure -- mine, anyway --really does vary, even quite widely, in the same subject under different conditions, such as:
Arm used (maybe)
Time of day
Proximity to meal-, wine-, and supplement/medication-consumption
Degree of environmental/mental stress
Type of environmental/mental stress
There were a few stressful moments during this day, so it was informative to take readings while reacting to them. And there are surprises, such as there being no significant variation in my blood pressure readings when listening to soothing classical strings music as opposed to listening to Rush Limbaugh's talk show!
Note: This particular model also records pulse, which might or might not relate to (a) systolic and/or (b) diastolic values.
Now that so many consumers self-monitor, it's vital that they run a similar experiment; indeed cardiologists recommend that a get-acquainted product orientation be undergone. This practice helps one determine the best time(s) and setting(s) in which to take a reading, when it's likely to come up low, normal, and/or high, and how high. While not making light of high blood pressure, I am suggesting that high readings be factored into a more all-encompassing picture, if, indeed, there is one.
And then, if a medication trial or a lifestyle alteration is undertaken, there'll be a baseline pattern against which to analyze their efficacy.
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