Why a Blood Pressure Monitor Should Be Part and Parcel of a Weight Loss Program

A blood pressure monitor can be a very useful tool in virtually any weight loss program. The primary reason is the basic requirements for weight loss, i.e. diet and exercise, can have significant effects on pressure within the arteries which can be beneficial or deleterious. Additionally, some of the frequently used medications to help lose weight can also affect blood pressure.

Since it is common knowledge that hypertension is more prevalent among individuals that are overweight, it is important to know if your arterial pressure is normal before beginning and during any type of weight loss program whether or not you have been previously diagnosed with hypertension.

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Even though exercise over the long run can reduce arterial pressure, acutely, and particularly during vigorous or strenuous exercise, arterial pressure increases and if it reaches a certain level can result in harmful consequences such as a heart attack or hemorrhagic stroke. Medical reports are replete with accounts of individuals who have suddenly collapsed and died while vigorously exercising as part of a weight loss regimen.

The guidance and medical expertise of a healthcare professional is certainly recommended while participating in a weight loss program, but the arterial pressure data obtained during periodic office visits is oftentimes insufficient for optimal safe supervision. Evaluation by a physician prior to beginning a weight loss program certainly has its value, but a one time blood pressure office reading does not represent your average arterial pressure or your arterial pressure on different days under different circumstances.

Although 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is the gold standard for determining true arterial pressure throughout the day and night, it is not practical for routine use, especially on a continuous basis during efforts to lose weight because of the expense involved.

Medical authorities have recognized that home blood pressure monitoring with an accurate monitor is an acceptable alternative to ambulatory monitoring. Experts in the field of hypertension recommend performing three readings 1 minute apart and averaging them in the morning and performing three readings 1 minute apart and averaging them at night, but additional readings can be obtained at other times such as immediately before exercise, midway through an exercise session or if any bothersome symptoms such as dizziness or headache are experienced. The important thing is that the readings and symptoms be reported to your doctor.

Recording the readings in a free-standing blood pressure tracker or the graph section of a personal health record software program are excellent economical ways of tracking your blood pressure during your weight-loss program, but if you do not have budget constraints there are some automatic monitors which will perform three successive readings, average them for you, and upload the results to a computer onto tracker software that accompanies the monitor has been installed.

Arterial pressure tracking graphs can be extremely valuable in helping your doctor supervise your weight-loss efforts from a safety standpoint, especially if you are being treated for hypertension and if changes need to be made in your medication because of blood pressure changes which occur during your weight-loss efforts. Tracking graphs can also serve as motivation in your efforts to lose weight if you record shows favorable blood pressure changes that accompany weight loss. It is the old magic-like phenomenon of recording it and reviewing it that imprints it in your brain as positive feedback.

Since the dietary arm of a weight loss program, should include the reduction of fat, alcohol and salt, a decrease in arterial pressure is likely to follow, because of the association between these substances and hypertension. Additionally, the weight loss which occurs with calorie restriction is also oftentimes associated with a decline in blood pressure.

Finally, one of the three FDA approved weight reduction drugs, Phentermine, and several of the over-the-counter appetite suppressant diet pills can cause elevations in arterial pressure which can result in serious untoward consequences such as heart attack or stroke, depending on the degree of elevation. Although supervision by a doctor is strongly recommended if one of these medications is a part of your weight-loss program, performing daily blood pressure readings with a home blood pressure monitor and reporting any abnormal reading to your physician can be an added safety valve during your quest to lose weight.

In addition to improving the safety and possibly the success of your weight-loss program, home blood pressure monitoring can also help your healthcare provider more effectively control your blood pressure. Disclaimer: This article is for informational purpose only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical consultation with a qualified healthcare professional. The author encourages users of the Internet exercise caution when using medical information obtained from the Internet and to consult your physician if you are unsure about your medical condition.

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