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When I became pregnant with my daughter in 2015 I started experiencing some new health problems. One of them was high blood pressure. At just 8 weeks pregnant I was put on bed rest for a considerable time and given medication too. Throughout my pregnancy the high blood pressure persisted, despite me losing 2.5 stone during my pregnancy. I think it was possible a combination of stress and obviously the pressure on my body of growing a baby. After my daughter’s birth my blood pressure didn’t come down for a fair while! Anyway, fast forward to 2017 and I was trying to finally come off my blood pressure medication and start living life again! I had to wear a 24 hour blood pressure monitor to show my GP what an accurate days reading of my blood pressure was.
What to expect: 24 hour blood pressure monitor
When having the 24 hour blood pressure monitor I had to visit my GP early in the morning. Around 9am. My 24 hour blood pressure monitor was fitted by a nurse practitioner which meant I didn’t have to take up a GP appointment. I was then sent away, wearing the monitor, for 24 hours, to return again the following morning. The following morning I didn’t have to have an appointment and was able to just drop my 24 hour blood pressure monitor off at reception. Very handy!
Anyway – fitting the 24 hour blood pressure monitor was simple enough. I went in, had the blood pressure cuff fitted to my right arm and that was it. Then I had to wear the 24 hour blood pressure monitor on a strap, over my arm. I was also able to put this down on the sofa next to me, and on my desk while I was working. I quickly got bored of having to wear the monitor but such is the life.
Things to know when wearing the 24 hour blood pressure monitor
Where appropriate clothing when you have it fitted. For me this meant I wore a vest top underneath my jumper. As it was cold when I had mine fitted.
It WILL make you jump sometimes. One minute you’re just there, working, the next the cuff is inflating and making you jump out of your skin.
Beeping doesn’t mean you’re getting an awful reading. My machine beeped a few times and it was actually an error reading my blood pressure. That isn’t that big a deal, as it’ll read again within 20-30 minutes or 1 hour if wearing overnight. Try not to be anxious about wearing the 24 hour blood pressure monitor as it will pick up enough readings for your GP to analyse the results.
Be prepared not to sleep a lot. Depending on the settings of your machine the frequency may be every 20 – 30 minutes during the day. At night this should drop down to reading around once per hour. However, it may still be every 30 minutes. So enjoy…!
It may be painful to wear the cuff. If you’re sensitive to pain, or bruise easily, then you ARE going to be uncomfortable wearing the cuff. However, speaking as someone who has had two strokes I’d say wearing the cuff for a day is a lot less painful than a stroke!
Expect a bruised arm afterwards. Whether you are thin or not. The cuff will be inflating frequently throughout the day and night and this is likely to cause some bruising of your skin. I had a load of line bruises, that lasted for a good week.
You’ll have to wait for the results to be analysed. Well, if your surgery is anything like mine. For me personally I had to drop my 24 hour blood pressure monitor back and then had to wait a few days for my GP to assess the results. This was frustrating but such is the life in the over stretched NHS!
What happens once you’ve had the results of your 24 hour blood pressure monitor?
For me personally I was finally able to stop my medication. While my blood pressure was still higher than it should be it wasn’t dangerously high now. Hooray!
You may have to have medication. Alternatively you may have to visit hospital to have further tests carried out depending on what your results are.
Want to check your blood pressure at home?
Would I wear a 24 hour blood pressure monitor again?
Absolutely. I was really pleased that my GP had an accurate look at the average day for me. Visiting my GP can give me higher blood pressure, as I get more anxious about my blood pressure being high. This was a vicious circle for me and I’ve been feeling much better since stopping my beta blockers.
You can find out more about 24 hour blood pressure monitoring from the BHF.
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