Author Topic: My Odyssey in search of a blood-pressure monitor.  (Read 203 times)

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Online daniel1948

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My Odyssey in search of a blood-pressure monitor.
« on: February 11, 2017, 07:21:35 PM »
Ever since I began jogging, 33 years ago, they've always told me my blood pressure was excellent. Though maybe in the last few years they've said "good" rather than "excellent." When I had my TIA, my BP was high, but I figured that was because of the attack. But then I was diagnosed with orthostatic hypotension (low BP when I stand) and I got a wrist-style automatic BP monitor, which didn't work at all and I returned it and got an upper-arm-style BP monitor instead.

I found that my BP was erratic, sometimes very high, as high as 187/109 on one occasion. I figured that a manual aneroid sphygmomanometer was probably best, and I got one that was highly rated, but I could not get the cuff on one-handed. The cuff on my automatic monitor is designed to put on one-handed, but the other is not, so I could not use it.

The last time I was at the clinic I brought my Omron BP monitor and compared it with the reading the nurse got, and the Omron read ten points high on the systolic, and 5 points high on the diastolic. So I resumed my search for a manual one I could use. I sent away for a replacement cuff that was designed for one-handed use, but didn't realize that it has only one hose (for an automatic monitor) rather than the two hoses needed for a manual sphygmomanometer.

So then I did what I should have done at the beginning: I went to Walgreens and bought a manual aneroid sphygmomanometer with a cuff designed for one-handed use. But it had a built-in stethoscope that is so crappy you can't hear the knocks at all. (For those who don't know, when using a manual sphygmomanometer you listen for the sharp knocking sound that as you release the pressure starts at the systolic and ends at the diastolic.) I could use that one with my own stethoscope, but the built-in one got in the way. Finally I realized that was only held in place with a screw, and I could remove it without damaging the cuff.

So now I have an aneroid sphygmomanometer that I can use with my own stethoscope. It's very awkward because I have to hold the stethoscope in place with my right hand while I simultaneously use the little screw-valve on the bulb to release the pressure slowly, also with the right hand, and while keeping the left arm completely relaxed, because any movement or tensing of the arm messes with the pressure. But I can do it.

It's hard, though, because the knocking does not start and stop abruptly. There's a hint of it before it appears full-volume, and at the low end it kind of fades out rather than stopping suddenly. And meanwhile, every beat of the heart causes the pressure gauge to jump a couple of points. (About one notch on my gauge.)

I think on Monday I'll go to the clinic and see if a nurse will give me some pointers.

And now the Omron is giving me readings of the systolic significantly lower than I'm getting, and even though I'm sure I have not yet completely gotten the hang of it, I'm getting very definite knocking a good 10 points higher than the Omron is saying. My readings of the diastolic are pretty close to the Omron. But the Omron was reading the systolic ten points high at the doctor's office.

At least I've had no more incidents of high BP since they put me on 5 mg of Lisinopril, a few days ago.
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