Marlan tells me that health issues are important to RVers… here goes!
When we go to the doctor and we hear that “ your blood pressure is out of range and here is a medication”… please… STOP and start asking questions.
Do NOT simply accept what the medical profession tells you without examining critically.
These questions come to mind:
- What is my normal range?
- What changes in my life are happening, stress, work, family?
- What are some alternatives I could try first as opposed to pills (with side effects)?
- What other tests could we be performed to verify?
These are important questions. You must know yourself and know your options.
One other thing that is invaluable before you start a new blood pressure medication is DATA. Your data!
Any patient that I have cared for that would be starting a new blood pressure med or even if they had been taking it for years, I provide teaching for that med.
I show them how to take blood pressures daily.
I would explain to my patients the correct way to check BPs, like no talking, don't cross your legs and proper placement of the BP cuff. These items might seem silly but these little changes can literally be the difference of BP medication or no medication.
Doing little things can make big differences. Consistency consistency consistency! This way your data will have real meaning.
One other thing to be aware of that I would see regularly in the community of working with elderly was signs of dehydration.
I would check a blood pressure and the reading would be alarmingly low. This would not be my patient's typical blood pressure reading.
I would ask questions such as these first before I panic, “MR. JONES, have you had any water, juice or something besides your coffee (coffee is a diuretic so it adds no hydration)?” and sure enough, he had not had any fluids besides coffee.
SO I have him drink a nice size glass of water and waited 30 minutes and his blood pressure would come up to normal.
If patient was starting a new blood pressure medication, I have them check blood pressure 3X daily.
First thing in the morning before your feet hit the ground running, check BP, that is the RESTING BP.
Second Check is around lunch and that is usually after the BP med has been taken, that is THERAPEUTIC BP (maybe).
Third is at bedtime which is what I call the active, after being up and busy all day.
These numbers are very useful data and can tell a story.
I am making available a sample BP log at the bottom of this post that I have used and it really is an aha moment once you begin tracking.
This is the data that you take to the doctor and begin to have the dialog about if the blood pressure medication is truly needed, changed, reduced or increased.
I am not anti medications – I am all about therapeutic medications.
As we get older, our chemistry changes, we lose or gain muscle, fat, retain water, some many variables change. You might have been taking the medication for years. That is why it is so important that we have data. You might not need the medication nor you might need it increased.
This is only my opinion and so take what you need and leave the rest. But if you have any questions, please email me. I am happy to answer questions and always open to learn something new.
Here is your free (compliments of your friends at RV52.com) blood pressure log recorder: