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As health care costs skyrocket, people are being forced to learn new ways to control their health in the privacy of their own homes.
For instance, people with high blood pressure are being told to monitor their own blood pressure at home as a way to better manage their disease, according to a new statement put out by the American Heart Association, the American Society of Hypertension and the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurse's Association.
The president of the American Society of Hypertension says these new recommendations will help "reduce the incident of heart attack, stroke and kidney disease."
Just like in weight control -- where we advocate weighing yourself regularly or doing body measurements -- we know that self-monitoring activities help to reinforce healthy behaviors.
Home monitoring helps you become actively engaged in your own health. You see firsthand how changes in your eating or activity level can affect your weight and blood pressure.
This doesn't take the place of your needed doctor visits. But it certainly can complement them.
The more objective health information you can bring to your doctor appointments, the better the doctor is able to give you more personalized advice and guidance.
Rather than the doctor getting only one snapshot of your health on that particular day, you can give him or her a longer term view of your health over a period of weeks or months.
Good health is a continuum based upon the many choices you make over weeks and months. So please don't get that upset if you "blow" your diet during one snack, a single meal, a whole day or even a weekend.
A lapse in your program won't turn into its total collapse if you can identify it early and refocus.