Posted by Women’s Health
Obviously, a high blood pressure reading is like, “duh, you have high blood pressure.” But most women don’t know theirs, for which there’s no excuse, says Adam Splaver, M.D., a cardiologist at Nanohealth Associates in Hollywood, Florida. “Just because you don’t look, doesn’t mean its not there,” he says, adding that unlike an x-ray or blood test, this is one routine medical test you can—and should—do yourself.
Nearly every pharmacy and drug store has a free in-store blood pressure machine or you can purchase your own portable blood pressure monitor for less than $30, Khanna says, noting that both methods are very accurate and similar to what you’d get in a doctor’s office.
Your blood pressure changes constantly to adjust to your activity level, hydration, sleep, food intake and other factors, so to get an accurate picture of your blood pressure you need to get several readings over time. Pick a time when you’re calm and well-hydrated, take your blood pressure, and then repeat the test weekly or monthly under the same conditions, she says. Write down the dates and your numbers and take those with you to your next doctor’s visit.
Any more than three readings in a row over 130/80 warrant a call to your doctor. According to the American College of Cardiology’s blood pressure guidelines, normal is less than 120/80 mm Hg, elevated is 120-129/80, stage 1 hypertension is 130-139/80-89, stage 2 hypertension is at least 140/90, and a hypertensive crisis anything over 180/120.