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Good Software For Charting Bp/hr/pp?


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I'm one of those people who adores playing with graphs. I do a lot in spreadsheets, but sometimes it's not the best way to get things done. In Feb I downloaded the freeware Blood Pressure Tracker from Soundtells. It does a very basic job and it's not exactly a thing of beauty.


A few days ago, I went hunting around and found My Blood Pressure. It is very nifty indeed. As with the other one, you need to change its normal/prehypertension/hypertension settings so that they reflect low/normal/high BP instead, but that's easily enough done. It shows lots of different graphs, and the categories function is fantastic for putting in things like position, whether it was part of a poor man's TTT, whether you'd just eaten, that sort of thing. Here are some examples.





These ones are filtered just to show my home TTTs for the last week:



There are a couple of things I don't like, however. One is that it loves using the standard deviation, which means that if you look at anything involving averages and ranges, it's only using 68% of the data. This is fairly hopeless for someone with POTS, since the whole point is that you need to see the full range and the outliers are vital. The other problem is that it's very difficult to focus closely on anything other than the most recent readings, which is annoying if you want to look back at previous home TTTs or similar. I've been emailing the guy who makes the software, and he explained how to do it, but it's still very awkward and takes quite a long time.

And of course, the third thing I don't like is the price! It's free for 15 days, then it's $29.95. It's very nifty software, but I am very broke too. Much as I've had enormous fun playing with it, I'm wondering whether it's actually going to be useful long-term, or whether I should just take screenshots of the useful readings and leave it at that. I'm still at the stage of trying to get diagnosed, I'm due for a 24 hour ECG (Holter monitor) soon and my GP is trying to refer me to a POTS specialist. So I haven't even started things like treatment yet, although I think the antihistamines may be helping at the moment. Is this sort of sophisticated tracking worth keeping up long term?

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Tracking my Orthostatic BP and HR has been very helpful for me as I have tried many treatments and watched empirically how the changes have played or not played a significant role in my progress. For instance, I have been able to prove Beta Blockers help temporarily, but do not help long term and that following exercise I frequently have very low drops in BP that Can cause me to blackout.

I use the Omron blood pressure cuff (sells at Walgreens for $99- got it on sale for $50.). And I use "Hearttracker" an iPhone app that has been fantastic. (not sure if OT is available for other smart phones but bought it for a couple of bucks- well worth it!). It keeps my stats, shows graphs, can email either summary or detailed reports to myself or doctors. It also has a note section that allows me to make note of what is happening at the time- ie: following 20 mins light walking. On a tight budget u might not have a smart phone, but that is ok. You could easily create a spreadsheet in Excel to track it- or even a pen and paper spreadsheet.

The data is especially helpful when working w docs because it is difficult for them to refute clinical evidence of trends in BP/ HR. I did daily morning Orthostatic measures for the first 4 months following Dx. The data is invaluable as I continue to see effective treatments.

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Thanks, that's worth knowing. You've guessed rightly that I don't have a smartphone. I did try setting up a spreadsheet, but found it didn't work out well - I just couldn't get the level of sophistication. The first software I mentioned, the Soundtells one, isn't good enough to show things like how I fare on different meds. The second one is. Sounds like it's worth forking out for, then, although I'm still sulking at the price and the snags.

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B, I've seen several of your posts which have included helpful and interesting information/ input in the forum. I'm sorry that you are struggling on the financial front right now. Seems to me the health battle is so big that you don't deserve a double whammy. That said, although the graphics are pretty, and you, like me, enjoy looking for patterns/trends in the data- it is a "nice to have" not a "need to have.". I'd suggest skipping any expenditure on software bc clinically it won't help you. In the meantime I'd probably just pencil and paper it and keep notes on any trends I sense as I'm recording. If you really want software I just googled "free heart rate monitor software" and about 5 different free download options came up. Don't know if they include the ones you mentioned above but might be worth investigating.

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I didn't actually try googling HR software, I'd just been googling BP software, and I'm fairly sure that I'd checked all the options for that. You know what it's like when googling free software sometimes: half of the hits lead to something which no longer exists, and the other half are only free for a trial period! Pulse pressure seems to be a key sign for me as, it's not just HR. And it's also a warning sign when my BP is generally low, something I'm only now realising is strongly related to the meds I take for pain. I ended up with a BP of 75/40 the other day after taking co-codamol with diazepam for pain (the first time I took that combo, I fainted the next day). Granted, I was lying slightly on my side, and I've now realised that doing that makes my BP look a bit lower (which I hadn't spotted before using this software), but I don't think it would have been more than 5 points below the real reading, and 80/45 is still very low. I can't spot medication trends using the Soundtells software, and I can't really see home TTTs or similar with it either. Pen and paper isn't an option - I can't use it with anything like the level of sophistication which shows up helpful results, and I can't actually hold a pen for more than a few words anyway due to hand pain and muscle weakness. Plus I'd struggle to read it due to visual problems. So far, this is the only software I've found which actually gives me useful, readable results.

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