This blog post is sponsored by OMRON and all opinions are the writer’s.
A year ago I embarked on a 90-day challenge to get into the habit of taking my blood pressure regularly for better heart health.
With a family history of high blood pressure and heart disease, I need to stay on top of my numbers. My siblings and both my parents take medication for high blood pressure.
My numbers are usually within a normal range, but as I get older, I find that sometimes I’m at prehypertension levels.
I do everything I can to stay healthy: I walk, I practice yoga, I meditate, sleep around 8 hours a night, you name it.
But sometimes, and despite all of the above, stress manages to creep in and raise my blood pressure.
Earlier this year, my dad, who underwent quadruple bypass open heart surgery six years ago, was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Because of his heart condition, he was not a candidate for chemo or radiation. Surgeons were hesitant to operate because they thought his heart may not withstand the anesthesia.
After three months of uncertainty, my dad finally underwent a colorectal resection. We practically said our goodbyes before he entered the operating room. Fortunately, he pulled through.
A few weeks later, I traveled to Madrid, Spain, to spend quality time with him.
My dad has to set alarms throughout the day for his meals, his medication and to take his blood pressure.
One of his meds can cause a drop in blood pressure. This would sound fine if it weren’t because he takes a different medication to lower his pressure in the first place.
While I was visiting him, we both took our blood pressure together. I even had the opportunity to help him connect to the OMRON connect app so he can keep a record of his numbers for the doctor.
I’m once again taking up the challenge of measuring my blood pressure regularly:
The stress of knowing my father was sick, and the uncertainty of whether he’d make it through surgery affected me tremendously.
The trip to Spain was wonderful, but it was also my first time traveling in a year and a half. The intensity of it all, plus jetlag and a trip to the ER due to the sudden appearance of eye floaters, took a toll on me.
Twice, when I took my blood pressure at my dad’s, my numbers were higher than what I’m used to.
Why it’s vital to know whether we have high blood pressure
The CDC states that 80% of cardiac events are preventable, and studies show that regular blood pressure self-monitoring can reduce the risk of stroke by up to 20% and can cut the risk of coronary artery disease by 10%. My mother had a stroke at 28 and my dad’s heart condition was due to atherosclerosis. I’m sure it will pay off for me to keep measuring my blood pressure regularly.
Many people don’t know they’re hypertensive until it’s too late. They find out either when they suffer a heart attack or stroke. But regular monitoring, which can be turned into a habit, can help uncover hypertension before it causes irreversible damage.
Developing the habit of regularly taking our blood pressure
The way my dad got into the habit of taking his blood pressure regularly, aside from when he feels it may be too high or too low, is by setting an alarm.
Last year I tried different ways of making it a habit, and this year I’m going to simplify things.
I will take my blood pressure in the mornings when I get up, and at night before going to bed. If I feel particularly stressed, I will take it again.
The great thing about the OMRON HeartGuide, which is a wearable device, is that I can easily take my blood pressure wherever I happen to be.
About OMRON Healthcare Inc.
OMRON Healthcare, Inc. is the global category leader in personal heart health and wellness technology, with a heritage of over 40 years. OMRON is the number one doctor and pharmacist recommended home blood pressure monitor brand on the market, and the brand is known for its clinically validated accuracy.
OMRON Healthcare’s mission is Going for Zero, the elimination of heart attack and stroke. Going for Zero drives everything OMRON does as a company, including the technological advancements to its medical devices that keep OMRON the global leader of the category. For more information about the company, visit omronhealthcare.com.