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DIY: Checking Your Blood Pressure


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#1 Holden Caulfield

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 11:06 PM

A Guide To Understanding and Monitoring Blood Pressure




Elevated blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common side effect of nearly all prohormones and designer steroids. More often than not, we write this off as minor, take our support supplements, and give little thought to what's really happening inside our bodies. It's important to understand that adequate blood pressure is necessary in the maintenance of proper circulation and perfusion to our vital organs. Long term hypertension can lead to permanent damage, putting you at risk for things like heart attacks and strokes later on.

If we are willing to take on the responsibility of introducing exogenous hormones into our bodies, we should be able take on the responsibility of ensuring our own health as well. If you're using PH/DS's, not only should you be monitoring your bp while on cycle, but you should be doing it all year round as well.

Reading Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is expressed in two numbers, one being over the other:

Systolic Pressure (top number) - Pressure caused along the artery wall with each contraction of the ventricles.

Diastolic Pressure (bottom number) - The residual pressure that remains in the arteries during the relaxing phase of the heart's cycle.

The pressures are expressed in millimeters of mercury, or mm Hg. The normal bp for an adult male is 120/80 mm Hg, anything over 140 systolic or 90 diastolic would be considered hypertensive. Primary symptoms of hypertension are headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, and being "confused" or "not with it".

Why We Should Monitor Our Own Blood Pressure

Many of us will go to Walgreens, Rite-Aid, etc. and just use the free monitoring devices they have there. There's two problems with this. First, most of these machines are designed for people with a maximum arm size of 12-13" and if your arm doesn't fit (and many of ours wont), you will get a VERY inaccurate reading. Second, they aren't always maintained and calibrated to the extent they should be.

For $15 you can get the equipment you need to check your own bp at home, accurately. Not only will it pay for itself in gas you would have spent driving to Walgreens but you will become a lot more "in tune" with your own body. Here's what you need:

-a sphygmomanometer (bp cuff)
-a stethoscope (optional for diastolic reading)



The kit consists of a cuff, inflator, valve, gauge, and stethoscope.

How To Check BP w/ Stethoscope

Step 1
Apply the cuff snuggly with the indicator over your brachial artery. Brachial artery - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Step 2
Place the stethoscope over the brachial artery with one hand (inside the cuff on the inside of the bicep, above the elbow is the best place) and grasp the inflator with the other.

Step 3
Ensure that the valve is shut, inflate the cuff to roughly 180 mm Hg.





(metal knob is the valve)

Step 4
Here's the important part! Gently crack open the valve with one hand so that air can escape slowly but steadily from the cuff. Watch the gauge drop and listen carefully in the stethoscope. You will hear nothing at first but as soon as you hear that first "thump" of the pulse, note the number it occurred on. This is your systolic blood pressure. As the air continues to escape you will hear the the pulses continuing, but getting more faint. As soon as the pulse sounds disappear, note the number on the gauge this occurred on. This is your diastolic blood pressure.

Step 5
Open guage all the way, release remaining air in the cuff. You're done Dr. Roidrage!

How To Check BP w/o a Stethoscope
(This is if a steth. didn't come with the cuff and you're too cheap to buy one or if you're having trouble finding an artery)

You can do this without the stethoscope. It's actually easier this way but unfortunately you can only get your systolic bp. This is probably ok though since most bp issues we get from PH/DS's will show up in the systolic and it's a good guess that if you're systolic is high, your diastolic probably is too.

This is done by setting up the cuff the same way as outlined previously except instead of using the stethoscope to "listen" to your pulse, you'll palpate, or feel it, instead. With the tips of your index and middle fingers, find the pulse on your radial artery. This is almost always found below your thumb, in between your radius bone and the big tendon on the inside of your forearm.



As you SLOWLY let air out of the valve, put your fingers in this area (you wont feel a pulse at first with the cuff inflated so its a good idea to find it first before inflating the cuff, that way you know where to put your fingers). Watch the gauge drop and and soon as you feel your pulse return, note the number. That's your systolic bp.

Wrap Up

Just remember that blood pressure is nothing to mess around with. It's telling you about the state of your cardiovascular system and you should be listening. I know it might be a pain in the ass to drop $15 on equipment and learn how to use it, but you gain a lifetime of being able to do something yourself. And if you're using hormones, it's something you should be doing frequently, on and off cycle.

Edited by Holden Caulfield, 11 March 2009 - 02:52 AM.

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i may sound like i know a thing or two but im probably talking out of my ass


#2 meathead666

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 11:12 PM

Good read:rockon:
Check out my Focus Xt Log!
http://www.prohormoneforum.com/supplement-logs/27413-meaty-accidentlys-focus-xt.html

#3 Head

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 11:13 PM

lulz @ meathead clicking the new post button every 20 seconds...

#4 Holden Caulfield

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 11:19 PM

lulz @ meathead clicking the new post button every 20 seconds...


i like his style

i may sound like i know a thing or two but im probably talking out of my ass


#5 Macrobolic

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 01:08 AM

Very good article Holden.

#6 Holden Caulfield

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 03:03 AM

and just to clarify, the bp cuff i used for the pics has a built in stethascope which is why you cant see the diaphram part of it in any of the pictures (it's inside the cuff). most of the cheap home kits you get at the store are like this and it takes all the guess work out of finding the brachial artery. good for beginners.

i may sound like i know a thing or two but im probably talking out of my ass


#7 Amardeus

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 02:43 PM

How effective is this kind of BP monitor? You put this one on your wrist.

Amazon.com: Omron HEM-650 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor with APS (Advanced Positioning Sensor): Health & Personal Care

My father has been using similar one for years, and he has to monitor his BP ever since his triple bypass.

#8 SplashN96

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 02:45 PM

Stuck.

#9 Holden Caulfield

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 03:55 PM

How effective is this kind of BP monitor? You put this one on your wrist.

Amazon.com: Omron HEM-650 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor with APS (Advanced Positioning Sensor): Health & Personal Care

My father has been using similar one for years, and he has to monitor his BP ever since his triple bypass.


the thing with checking bp is that the further you're doing it from your heart, the more likely you are to get an inaccurate reading. especially with the wrist it can be effected by your arm position. if you use one of these make sure your arm is very still and resting at heart level.

if you're thinking about buying an automatic monitor like this one you'd probably be better with a brachial cuff but these still work.

i may sound like i know a thing or two but im probably talking out of my ass


#10 PyroLiftah

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 06:28 PM

I have the Omron HEM-712C
Well worth the money, got it cheap on e-bay.

I brought it to my doctor, and he did a traditional reading and it was the exact same as the Omron.
So I check it a couple of times a day, always around the same times, it's amazing how it will go up and down throughout the day depending on if you've just eaten, drank a few cups of coffee, etc. Also, never take it straight after a workout - your BP will be very high for around an hour and the shock of the elevated reading may give you a heart attack :D

Also, fwiw, I've never really seen any decent reduction from taking hawthorn berry, celery seed does seem to work a bit better.

And when on cycle, (h-drol and also epi), my BP shot up for the first few days, but during the 2nd and 3rd week was actually lower then when off cycle, soon after the cycle ended my PB went back up to it's usual value. Interesting, and I don't think it was the support supps that brought it down.

If you can get your hands on an ACE inhibitor (Rx), it will really help a lot better than hawthorn berry, etc.

#11 Holden Caulfield

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 06:35 PM

I have the Omron HEM-712C
Well worth the money, got it cheap on e-bay.

I brought it to my doctor, and he did a traditional reading and it was the exact same as the Omron.
So I check it a couple of times a day, always around the same times, it's amazing how it will go up and down throughout the day depending on if you've just eaten, drank a few cups of coffee, etc. Also, never take it straight after a workout - your BP will be very high for around an hour and the shock of the elevated reading may give you a heart attack :D

Also, fwiw, I've never really seen any decent reduction from taking hawthorn berry, celery seed does seem to work a bit better.

And when on cycle, (h-drol and also epi), my BP shot up for the first few days, but during the 2nd and 3rd week was actually lower then when off cycle, soon after the cycle ended my PB went back up to it's usual value. Interesting, and I don't think it was the support supps that brought it down.

If you can get your hands on an ACE inhibitor (Rx), it will really help a lot better than hawthorn berry, etc.



good input. obviously Omron makes a solid product and if you're willing to spend the money on something like that it's much easier than doing it manually.

i noticed the same thing on my Bold cycle. i preloaded hawthorn a week before but the first 3 days on cycle my BP was off the charts. after that it dropped back to normal and stayed there. not really sure now if the hawthorn had anything to do with it.

and ya, meds are a much better substitute but if you can't get your hands on them CoQ10 is a viable option as well.

i may sound like i know a thing or two but im probably talking out of my ass


#12 PyroLiftah

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 06:47 PM

and ya, meds are a much better substitute but if you can't get your hands on them CoQ10 is a viable option as well.


Yes CoQ10 helps, but it needs to be taken for around 8 to 12 weeks before it really takes effect, also as it is fat soluble, take it with some healthy fats, fish oil would be good, as this can also lower BP (just a little) but it all helps.

#13 Holden Caulfield

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 12:54 AM

UPDATE - 4/20/09



I keep seeing a lot of threads that sound like this...

"OMG! my blood pressure is xxx/xx, should i stop my cycle?"

The answer is not yet. The first thing you need to do is make sure this crazy number is even accurate. Like I mentioned previously, a lot of factors can influence your blood pressure - time of day (especially in relation to your workout or other physical activity), device used to check it, stress levels, stimulant intake, even your diet. The only real way to obtain your baseline BP, whether on cycle or not, is to check it using a reliable method mulitple times throughout the day. Like I mentioned in the OP, Walmart/Rite Aid/Walgreens BP machines are rarely accurate and are not made to fit large arm sizes. Since the cuff has to read through lean tissue rather than fat, this will result in a higher than normal readout.

So lets say you take multiple reading over a 3 day period and your BP is still high, let's say 155/90. How bad is this? Relatively speaking, not too bad. But relativity is a key concept. If your BP shoots up to this number during your cycle and returns to normal afterwards, it's really not much to worry about. If you remain at this BP year round, you have a problem. For 99% of us, the prior is going to be true and high BP isnt much to worry about. If you're up there year round, then the side effects of PH's is the least of your worries.

So when should you stop? If you're above 170 systolic or 100 diastolic. Some experienced guys will keep running their cycles despite this but the're big boys and thats up to them. IMO, that's dangerously high and id drop the cycle. Again, make sure you monitor that number over a period of days to determine it's accuracy and make sure you're taking sufficient BP support supps before putting the axe in anything. I'd also consider dropping the cycle if you're experiencing significant side effects as a result of elevated BP (those can be found in the OP).

Another thing to think about is a condition called SSH, or Spurious Systolic Hypertension. This seems common in many bb'ers and is not real hypertension, rather, a false-positive produced by the large amount of muscle mass in your arms. Here's what a doctor has to say about it:

"Fat, being very compressible, can act like a sponge or a shock absorber, leading to falsely low measurements...Muscle, on the other hand, is very firm, and can actually lead to higher than expected readings.This is known as 'spurious systolic hypertension' (SSH).(4)

In most people with high blood pressure, both the high (systolic) and low (diastolic) number are elevated (systolic >140 and diastolic >90)...In this condition, only the high number is elevated.

People with SSH tend to be young and have no major health risk factors (obesity, smoking, high cholesterol etc)...They tend to be different from normotensive people of the same age only in that they have a higher BMI and are more likely to engage in athletics.(5) SSH most likely has nothing to do with blood pressure and everything to do with the anatomy of a muscular individual's arm."

Edited by Holden Caulfield, 04 December 2009 - 09:35 PM.

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#14 Macrobolic

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 11:40 PM

"Fat, being very compressible, can act like a sponge or a shock absorber, leading to falsely low measurements...Muscle, on the other hand, is very firm, and can actually lead to higher than expected readings.This is known as 'spurious systolic hypertension' (SSH).(4)

In most people with high blood pressure, both the high (systolic) and low (diastolic) number are elevated (systolic >140 and diastolic >90)...In this condition, only the high number is elevated.

People with SSH tend to be young and have no major health risk factors (obesity, smoking, high cholesterol etc)...They tend to be different from normotensive people of the same age only in that they have a higher BMI and are more likely to engage in athletics.(5) SSH most likely has nothing to do with blood pressure and everything to do with the anatomy of a muscular individual's arm."


Very interesting! Thank you for posting that. I think that I actually fit this description as bp systolic is typically in the high 120's to low 130's but my diastolic is in the 60-70's. I've done an EKG as well and it's normal, with no other risk factors. This actually gives me something to talk about with my doctor. Thanks brah!

#15 Holden Caulfield

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 12:01 AM

Very interesting! Thank you for posting that. I think that I actually fit this description as bp systolic is typically in the high 120's to low 130's but my diastolic is in the 60-70's. I've done an EKG as well and it's normal, with no other risk factors. This actually gives me something to talk about with my doctor. Thanks brah!


next time youre at the doc try asking him or the nurse to use a large size BP cuff. my might not even have SSH, the cuff just might be too small. but if the systolic is still high with the right size cuff then its probably SSH.

im pretty much repeating what you just said lol but i had to go through that process too at my last doctors visit.

i may sound like i know a thing or two but im probably talking out of my ass


#16 ULY

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 05:51 AM

What's the max arm size you can use a stethoscope at?

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#17 Holden Caulfield

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 12:46 PM

What's the max arm size you can use a stethoscope at?


a stethascope should be able to hear a pulse through anyones arm regardless of muscle size. fat, on the other hand could cause a problem since enough of it can "absorb" a pulse.

i may sound like i know a thing or two but im probably talking out of my ass


#18 bvd051000

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 03:43 PM

In my experience, it's a good idea to get the palpatory pressure (no steth) before you do the auscultatory pressure (with the steth). This eliminates the potential auscultatory gap. It takes just a few minutes longer, but it's a better way in my opinion.

After I find the palpatory pressure, I release the cuff, then inflate it 30-40mm over the palpatory pressure then proceed as usual.

#19 GymHero

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 04:00 AM

nice post

#20 BloodRush00

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 09:25 PM

Awesome thread, would be nice if OP could update the pictures though.

#21 timmm36

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:49 AM

hrmm old thread, wonder if those junky digital BP readers on ebay are usefull or just junk?




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