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The Best Way to Take Your Own Blood Pressure


Nov. 10, 2014 Men's Health

In a new study from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine-Greenville, researchers found that people who saw their doctors at least twice a year were more than three times as likely to keep their high blood pressure stable than those who made fewer appointments.

“Folks who have more office visits are more likely to be aware they have high blood pressure, more likely to be treated for it, and it’s more likely to be controlled when they are treated,” says study author Brent Egan, M.D. That’s because their docs can begin treatment and adjust meds as necessary during follow-up visits.

Blood pressure counts as high if it’s over 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). The first number is your systolic pressure—the pressure when your heart is pumping blood. The second number measures your diastolic pressure, which is when your heart is between beats.

If your blood pressure is out of whack—160/100 mm Hg or higher—you may need to see your doc every 2 weeks until it’s stabilized, or under 140/90. For mildly elevated cases where it’s close to controlled—say, 140-159/90-99 mm Hg—every month is fine, though you may be able to stretch it to every 2 if you fall in the low end of the range.

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