Testing Both Blood Glucose and Blood Pressure at Home
Health Guide February 10, 2011
Since three-fourths of those of us who have diabetes also have high blood pressure, a combined blood glucose and blood pressure monitoring device makes a lot of sense. Years ago I reviewed basic devices here, but now we have the chance to use something that seems to approach the sophistication of the devices that nurses regularly use in doctors’ offices. And is probably even better.
The Fora D20 has a regular arm cuff attached to the device that measures either our BG or our BP. This gives me more confidence than the basic devices that previously were all that we had for monitoring our blood pressure at home.
I don’t automatically assume that doctors and their nurses can take better care of our medical needs than we can ourselves. Clearly, we have a greater interest in our own health.
But with blood pressure testing even more considerations come into play. We can do it better at home.
It’s not just the infamous “white-coat syndrome,” where people become nervous at the doctor’s office and have higher readings than they normally would at home. Too many of us know from experience that medical people are too rushed. And rushing doesn’t work when testing blood pressure.
For example, I have had nurses check my blood pressure as soon as they came in the room. I’m sure that they knew as well as I do that patients are supposed to sit still for five or 10 minutes before the test. But they were too rushed, and my numbers were predictably too high.
The owner’s manual for the Fora D20 helps us to avoid that and other mistakes. In fact, it has the best guidance I have ever read for preparing for a BP measurement:
“Avoid caffeine, tea, alcohol and tobacco at least 30 minutes before measurement.
“Wait 30 minutes after exercising or bathing before measurement.
“Sit or lie down for at least 10 minutes before measurement.
“Do not measure when feeling anxious or tense.
“Take a 5-10 minute break between measurements. This break can be longer if necessary, depending on your physical condition.
“Keep the records for your doctor as reference.
“Blood pressure varies between each arm. Always measure your blood pressure on the same arm.
To take a blood pressure measurement after performing a blood glucose test, make sure that the test strip has been removed from the monitor.”
We can do that. But we can’t always count on medical people to be that conscientious on our behalf.
Like all blood pressure monitoring devices, the Fora D20 measures our the systolic pressure – when the heart contracts or beats – and the diastolic pressure – when the heart relaxes between beats. When relaxed, we need to keep our systolic pressure below 120 millimeters of mercury and our diastolic pressure below 80 millimeters of mercury.
But the Fora D20 also measures our heart rate at the same time. Since I have never had high blood pressure, using a blood pressure monitoring device was never something that I personally took seriously.
I should have. Until recently, I had no idea that a low heart rate is not something we want to have. A heart rate of less than 60 beats per minute was in fact one of the clues that I had telling me that I have hypothyroidism.
The Fora D20 is available from MedPoint Advantage in Birmingham, Alabama, for $83.99. MedPoint Advantage distributes it from Fora Care Inc. of Newbury Park, California. But according to documents on the website of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Taidoc Technology Corporation in Taipei, Taiwan, is the manufacturer.
Of course, blood pressure monitoring is only half of what the Fora D20 does. The other half is providing a convenient meter for us to test our blood glucose. Here it uses only a tiny blood sample of 0.7 microliters and returns a result in 7 seconds.
Both BG and BP are important. Measuring them can now go together as closely as these two abbreviations.