Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring
Our English-speaking Cardiologists recommend Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring
Cutting-Edge Cardiac Care at Turó Park Medical and Dental Center
Imagine trying to bake a cake without any measuring spoons for the ingredients or any thermometer for the oven. That is what it would be like for your doctor to try to manage your blood pressure without a good way to measure or monitor it. A new kind of blood-pressure-monitoring technology, called Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) now provides the kind of exact measurements both doctors (and chefs) want.
According to Turó Park Medical and Dental Center’s English-speaking cardiologist, Dr. Jr. Juan Carlos Portugal, “the Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring test is the definite diagnostic tool for confirming or ruling out the diagnosis of hypertension.”
Why does blood pressure matter for heart health?
It can be helpful to think of your blood pressure like tire pressure. If the air pressure goes too high, the tire could pop. Similarly, high blood pressure (called hypertension) puts too much pressure on the walls of your blood vessels (arteries and veins). Your heart also has to work harder to pump blood throughout your body.
The results can be deadly:
- weakened arteries
- increased plaque buildup
- higher risk of blood clots
- heart disease
- other cardiovascular problems
The other important thing to remember about high blood pressure is that people rarely have any symptoms. That is why it is often called the silent killer. This is also why you should have your blood pressure screened regularly, even if you feel fine and don’t have any risk factors.
Why measure blood pressure with the ABPM tool?
Some people get very nervous when going to a doctor’s office. This anxiety can cause their blood pressure to rise, giving them a falsely high reading. This is called white coat hypertension. Your blood pressure does not stay constant throughout the day. It can rise and fall depending on your stress level, your activity level, or if you are in pain. By having a more complete picture of what your normal daily blood pressure pattern looks like, Turó Park’s cardiologists can better diagnose those patients that should be taking medication to lower their blood pressure. It also allows those people already taking medication to have the best control possible of their high blood pressure, thereby lowering their risk of heart problems.
If your doctor advises ABPM, you will wear a blood pressure cuff attached to a small recording device at your waistband for about 24-48 hours. You wear the device at all times and it takes readings every 15 minutes, around the clock, so that your doctor can get a better idea of what your blood pressure is normally like.
Do women need to worry about blood pressure as well?
As women age, they have a higher risk of stroke than men if they do have high blood pressure according to recent research. Other studies are now showing that women’s blood vessels age at a faster rate than men’s. Women are also more likely to develop dangerously high-blood pressure levels more quickly than men do.
How do I know if I need to worry about my blood pressure?
Everyone should regularly check their blood pressure, but people with certain risk factors might want to consider Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring. If you:
- Have a family history of high blood pressure or heart disease
- Are overweight or obese
- Are older than 50
- Gender (until age 64 men are more likely to develop high blood pressure)
- Drink too much alcohol or smoke
- Eat an unhealthy diet, especially one high in sodium (salt)
- Have other medical conditions such as diabetes, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, or stress
- Had problems with blood pressure during pregnancy
If you have any of these risk factors or have had elevated blood pressure readings in the past, you should ask about ABPM. For a quick idea of your cardiac risk, you can use the American Heart Association’s My Life Check- Life’s Simple 7 Risk Calculator which calculates your risk for a heart attack or stroke. Turó Park Medical and Dental Center’s two English-speaking cardiologists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and high blood pressure.
You can read more about their medical backgrounds and care philosophies here. They would be happy to answer any of your questions and provide a personalized, comprehensive heart-health care plan. You can easily book online from our website or our English-speaking office staff will be happy to help you when you call +34 932 529 729.
Author Amy Harris & Article written in collaboration with the Dr. Jr. Juan Carlos Portugal