Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) is one of the most common medical conditions. Whilst, it is not a disease in itself, it is a major contributor to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and dementia. Lifestyle changes including stress management, salt reduction, weight control and a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables greatly help, but many people require medication to control their blood pressure.
Checking blood pressure at the doctor’s surgery is very useful but evidence shows it is often imprecise as it is not a ‘normal’ environment. What is more, a good series of blood pressure readings in an ‘everyday’ situation gives a much more accurate reflection of blood pressure. Checking when at work, at home and even asleep helps determine the real situation and how best to target treatment.
Often the home readings will be much improved and no treatment is even required. However, there are some people who have ‘masked’ hypertension, whose blood pressure is in fact much higher than at the practice. Anyone with a strong family history of heart disease should be monitored closely.
An increasing number of people have blood pressure machines at home. These can be very helpful and some studies have shown much better overall hypertension control. Often, renting a 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure machine, is the most precise way to work out if treatment is required, or if the current medication is achieving target. Over the course of the day and night the cuff self-inflates at regular intervals providing very useful data. The repeated pressure on the arm can be a little annoying but many users hardly notice it. I would highly recommend a 24 hour blood pressure check. It has been a really useful tool for many patients. Crawford Medical Centre offers this service for $150 to patients not registered with them and a thorough report will be sent straight to your doctor. Ring 09 538 0083 to make a booking.
Yours in good health - Dr. Bryn Thompson, Lead Clinician