Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pressures Rising

QardioArm app start window on my phone, QardioArm in place for pressure reading,
history window on my phone, device ready to travel...

Taking care of myself is a top priority in my life. It helps me be the best I can be in whatever I am doing. While I do a good job of taking care of myself normally, our gypsy lifestyle can make it a bit more challenging. That's where creativity and adaptation help me learn a few new tricks along the way.

Case in point: Prior to being a full-time traveler, I tracked my blood pressure (BP) on a regular basis. Not because I had high blood pressure, but to show my doctor I did not need medication for high blood pressure. You see, I have white coat syndrome (white coat hypertension). In other words, my blood pressure rises as soon as I enter my doctor’s office. 

Last year when I went to Europe for four months, I didn't pack my BP monitor simply because my blood pressure is stable and packing light does not include my bulky BP monitor. I had thought I would occasionally follow up on monitoring somewhere along the way in Europe, but I did't realize it would be difficult finding BP monitoring stations in European pharmacies. When I arrived home, I was due for my annual physical, and once again my BP was sky high and continued to rise throughout the subsequent checking during the appointment. While my doctor didn’t exactly care for the readings, I told him I would be more vigilant in taking my own readings as I had previously been, and we could address the issue on a follow up appointment unless the monitoring showed a significant problem before then.

I did some research and tried a simple lightweight BP wrist monitor. But here’s the thing, the readings were always high. I checked the readings against my bulky reliable monitor and the wrist monitor wasn't correct. After more research I found this can be common with wrist monitors. I returned the wrist style and purchased a wireless QardioArm that works with an app on my iPhone and iPad. I wear it above my elbow on my left arm as I did with my old monitor. The device weighs 10.9 ounces and is 2.7 x 1.5 x 5.5 inches. It is much smaller and weighs half as much as the monitor I had been using. It triple measurement averages and shows heartrate with irregular heartrate detection, which is what I’m used to seeing from my old monitor. It’s easy to set up and use, but moreover validates the readings I had previously recorded on my old bulky reliable.

Consider this scenario: I go to the doctor and have not been monitoring my blood pressure on a regular basis, he sees rather high readings and notes those high readings from previous visits, then proceeds to prescribe medication for a problem I may not have! It’s up to us to be proactive in our health and work with our doctors as a team. Don’t leave your doctor hanging out there with limited information because you don't take the initiative for your own health. In the long run, taking medication you don’t need, or should be taking more of or less of, can lead to catastrophic health issues!

When I see my doctor next time, I’ll be able to show him the QardioArm history on my phone. And even though I'm traveling full time, QardioArm will help me stay on top of my health without adding pressure.

QardioArm photo courtesy of DaMClark's