Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Health Checks and Blood Pressure Measurements

A while ago I signed up to have a frehealth check through work. The health check consisted of measuring my cholesterol level, blood pressure BMI and body fat. The chap who did it was really friendly and chatty and thanks to my studies I was able to follow most of the science-y stuff.

The cholesterol test was particularly interesting as I've not had that tested before. My result was a little high but as I exercise regularly and eat a relatively healthy diet (I was told it was nice to meet a "proper" vegetarian rather than one who eats junk) and both these things contribute to good cholesterol levels, it's likely that my ratio of HDL to LDL, or good to bad cholesterol, is fine and I have nothing to worry about. 

I was already aware of my BMI, body fat % rating and blood pressure, as these are measurements that I have had to learn to take and interpret as part of my PT studies. These form part of the basic health and fitness tests on which a PT will base appropriate exercise prescription and programme design as well as providing a baseline against which to measure progress. These days just about anyone can take their own blood pressure readings with the help of a blood pressure monitor. These are readily available from retailers like Amazon, at a variety of prices and different levels of whizziness. 
The first monitor I bought cost me around £18. It has a regular sized cuff and an electronic read out that shows blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR). I was offered the chance to review another variety of BP monitor, namely the Ozeri CardioTech Premium Series BP4M Digital Arm Blood Pressure Monitor with Hypertension Color Alert Technology and as I was interested to see just how much these can differ I agreed.
The BP4M comes in a zippered travel bag, unlike the one I already own, which makes it especially neat and handy to transport. The instruction booklet not only explains how to operate the machine but also give some very useful information about how to interpret the results and what the health implications might be.
The cuff seems a little bigger than the one supplied with my other machine and has very clear instructions printed on it about how to fit it. 
The machine is extremely straight forward and easy to use. The big buttons are the main ones you'll need to do one-off readings but there is the capacity to store 399 readings along with the date and time for each of 3 users. It will calculate the average BP of the last 3 readings, something that's especially useful for health and fitness assessments, and will also detect irregular heart beats (arrhythmia). My favourite feature on this device, though, is the display which will light up as red, orange or green depending on the result of the test, giving an easy indication of whether you may need to consider further tests or action. At twice the price of the machine I bought myself this is still very affordable and I fully expect that this will be the monitor I end up using most often, not least because of it's portability.
A healthy heart
There are plenty of If you are interested in finding out more about blood pressure and how it provides an indicator of your health do have a look at the Blood Pressure UK website. Also if your work place offers free health checks I'd recommend getting one done, especially if you're under 40. If you're between the ages of 40 and 74 the NHS offers free health checks.

Disclaimer: I was sent the Ozeri CardioTech Premium Series BP4M blood pressure monitor for free in return for a review here and on Amazon.

No comments:

Post a Comment