High blood pressure can lead to a variety of health issues, ranging from heart disease to strokes. If you have a family history of high blood pressure, you are more likely to have it. Other contributing factors include obesity, age and gender. There are no symptoms of high blood pressure, so many people are unaware that they have it. Even if you have no family history of high blood pressure or other heart issues, it's a good idea to chart your blood pressure regularly.
Things You'll Need
- Blood pressure monitor
- Blood pressure tracker sheet
- Blood pressure charting software (optional)
Know healthy blood pressure ranges. Ideally, you want your systolic blood pressure, also known as the top number, to be below 120, and your diastolic blood pressure to be below 80. If your systolic blood pressure is between 120 and 139, or your diastolic is between 80 and 90, you have prehypertension, and must adopt a healthier lifestyle. If your systolic is between 140 and 159, or your diastolic is between 90 and 99, you have Stage 1 hypertension. You must become healthier, and if your blood pressure doesn't drop within six months, you may have to take medication. If your systolic blood pressure is 160 or higher, or your diastolic is 100 or more, you have Stage 2 hypertension. In this case, you likely need to take more than one medication.
Measure your blood pressure daily or weekly. Daily monitoring will give you a more detailed look at your blood pressure, however, weekly monitoring is sufficient. If high blood pressure isn't a severe issue, many people simply chart their blood pressure monthly or even yearly.
Take your blood pressure at the same time of day. Your blood pressure can fluctuate throughout the day, depending on your activity levels. You'll have more accurate charting results if you measure your blood pressure at the same time each day.
Test your blood pressure three times, and record the results of each test. Wait one minute between each test. You'll notice that your results can vary between the three tests. You can then take an average of the three tests to get the most accurate results.
Record your results in the blood pressure tracker sheet, available at American Heart's website. Enter the date and time of the test, your systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings and your heart rate. Record the results of all three tests on the sheet.
Use blood pressure charting software, such as My Blood Pressure. This detailed software records and charts your blood pressure results. The software will remind you to take your blood pressure and then give you charts on your monthly or yearly results. You can then print out a report for your doctor.