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
Apply the cuff snuggly with the indicator over your brachial artery. Brachial artery - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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.
Ensure that the valve is shut, inflate the cuff to roughly 180 mm Hg.
(metal knob is the valve)
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.
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.
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.