Wednesday, November 10, 2010
The Importance of Monitoring Blood Pressure
Mom takes 5 mg of Amlodipine (substituted for Norvasc) to help control her hypertension, or high blood pressure. It's only been in the past few years that she's needed this medication. But it comes with its own lengthy script on cautions, side effects and warnings. I've become to a small degree skilled in reading the "normal" ranges and what to worry about when the readings rise or fall.
So when Mom called me at 8am last week and said she'd been monitoring her blood pressure since 5am and it was "high" my first question was "How high?" She told me it had been at 184/96 which is ALARMINGLY high when it's supposed to be controlled with the medication. I went across the street and took my own wrist cuff monitor to be sure it wasn't a problem with the equipment or the batteries. A couple of hours later and about 10 repeated readings on all three of our monitors showed her readings to be nearly normal.
We went to our family doctor yesterday and the Nurse Assistant took the reading which I immediately repeated with Mom's wrist cuff device to compare the results. The nurse got 114/60 (which is good!) and I got 140/64 which is a tad bit high on the systolic (upper reading). Normal BP should fall in the 90-120 range. So I immediately thought that our machine was off. Not so.
When Doctor Hussey retook the reading moments later, the systolic was around 150 which is Not Good. He sent us home with some samples of a new prescription which combines Mom's previous Amlodipine with another added ingredient to help stabilize the pressure. In two weeks she needs to go back for a Potassium evaluation (draw blood) since this Rx sometimes affects Potassium negatively. Oh boy. So now, we wait and see how she does on the new meds.