What’s the purpose of tracking blood pressure?
A blood pressure log is a great idea for tracking your blood pressure over a period of time. Keeping a blood pressure journal will give you great data for tracking trends in your blood pressure. You can start to ascertain what effects specific environmental changes have on your blood pressure metrics. As you get more accustomed to taking periodic measurements, you’ll find adding entries to your log to be quick and effortless.
What to look for when analyzing your data:
- Does your data fluctuate throughout the day?
- What impact does stress have on your values?
- Do dietary changes effect your numbers?
- What effects do caffeine/nicotine or alcohol have on your metrics?
- Are your medications effective?
- Do timings of meals affect your numbers?
How to keep a blood pressure log [todo: make sample spreadsheet]
The most useful tool for keeping a blood pressure journal is storing your data in a spreadsheet, so that you can sort and arrange the data. Here is a list of data columns that you should track.
- Day of Week
- Systolic Pressure
- Diastolic Pressure
- Recent Meal (yes/no)
- General Stress 0-10
- Alcohol? (how many drinks?)
- Nicotine? (yes / no)
- Caffeine? (how much caffeine or cups)
- Exercise Intensity? (0-10)
- Exercise Duration? (# of Minutes)
- Medications (dosages)
- General Notes
Tracking Food as Part of Your Blood Pressure Log
Food is something that can be broken down into a lot of various categories, so it’s a highly personalized metric. For example, I eat a LCHF (low carb/high fat) Keto diet, so I keep track of my carbohydrate intake in my log. If you’re interested in how your diet affects your blood pressure, then you should make an effort to track your food in relation to your blood pressure. Here are some examples of food categories you can track in your blood pressure log in addition to the ones mentioned above.
- electrolytes (salt, potassium, magnesium, calcium)
- calorie types (carbs, fats, protein)
- total calories
- water (measure hydration)
- simple sugars
Analyzing your Blood Pressure Data
So you’ve got a spreadsheet full of data, what can you do with it? The quickest thing to do after you’ve acquired data for a reasonable span of time is to sort the data by systolic pressure measurements. Then review the top 10 or 20 entries and look for similarities between rows. Is there a correlation between stress levels and your blood pressure readings? Make some adjustments to your life to reduce stress. Meditation and exercise are both great ways to calm yourself each day.
Other benefits to keeping this log is that it’ll make you more aware of what you’re putting in your body and the environmental stresses that you’re under.
- How much are you smoking?
- How much are you eating each day?
- Do you drink enough water?
- Does your alcohol/nicotine use go up during times of stress?
- How much are you actually exercising?
- What days of the week are you feeling the most stressed?
Depending how detailed you keep your log, you can glean a lot of information about yourself. You might notice a lot of habits that you never realized you had.
A sure fire way to mitigate some bad low blood pressure habits is to adopt some high efficiency lifestyle changes.