What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
A blood pressure test measures how hard your hearts working to pump blood through your body.
Blood pressure is measured with 2 numbers. The first number is the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The second number is the pressure in your arteries when your heart relaxes between beats.
Compare your blood pressure to these numbers:
- Normal blood pressure is lower than 120/80
- High blood pressure is 130/80 or higher
- Blood pressure thats between normal and high is called elevated blood pressure or prehypertension
Understanding Blood Pressure Readings
Blood pressure readings are written as two numbers. It usually looks like a fraction, followed by the letters “mmHg.” For example, 120/80 mmHg.
The first number is your systolic blood pressure, which refers to the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second number is your diastolic blood pressure, which refers to the pressure in your blood when your heart rests in between beats.
The “mmHg” stands for “millimeters of mercury.” Doctors used mercury in the first accurate blood pressure monitors, and the unit has remained the standard for measurement.
Every time you take your blood pressure, the reading will fall into one of five categories. Here’s a breakdown of the different blood pressure categories.
The top number is your systolic blood pressure, and the bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure.
Normal: Less than 120/80 mmHg. You’re doing great! Keep eating healthy and exercising regularly.
Elevated : 120-129 systolic and less than 80 mmHg. Example: 125/75 mmHg. Make some small tweaks to your lifestyle, such as adding aerobic exercise to your day and keeping stress levels low, to reduce your risk of developing hypertension.
Hypertension stage 1: 130 to 139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic. Examples: 131/75 mmHg and 127/85 mmHg. Doctors will prescribe lifestyle changes at this stage and may prescribe medications depending on your risk of atherosclerotic and cardiovascular diseases.
Home Blood Pressure Monitoring
Blood pressure tests can also be carried out at home using your own digital blood pressure monitor.
This can give a better reflection of your blood pressure, as being tested in somewhere like a GP surgery can make you feel anxious and can affect the result. It can also allow you to monitor your condition more easily in the long term.
You can buy a variety of low-cost monitors so you can test your blood pressure at home or while you’re out and about.
It’s important to make sure you use equipment that has been properly tested. The British Hypertension Society has information about validated blood pressure monitors you can buy.
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How Can I Check My Blood Pressure At Home
Checking your blood pressure at home is easier than youd expect. You first need to buy the right equipment. Talk to your doctor about the best home monitors to buy to check your blood pressure. You want to make sure you get the right size cuff. Once you have your device, heres how to get started:
- Avoid tobacco, alcohol, exercise, and caffeine a half hour before you take a reading.
- Find a quiet place and sit in a comfortable chair. Rest for at least five minutes.
- Follow your monitors instruction booklet to position the cuff properly and inflate it. For manual monitors, this means squeezing the bulb. For automatic ones, its simply a press of a button.
- Check the readings. Write down the top number and the bottom number .
- Finally, establish a routine for checking your blood pressure at home. This enables you to notice trends in your numbers, which is helpful.
Feel free to share your blood pressure records with your doctor, especially if youre at a higher risk for developing heart disease.
What Is Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure provides lots of information about how well your heart is working, as long as you interpret it correctly.
Blood pressure is the force that our blood exerts on our vessels as it circulates around the body and we measure both the highest and lowest pressure. The systolic part indicates the pressure as our heart beats, and the diastolic is the pressure in between every heart beat. A healthy blood pressure should have a systolic reading of between 90 120 mmHg and a diastolic reading between 60 80 mmHg. You may be used to seeing these figures written like this: 120/80 or said like this: 120 over 80 .
If you have a blood pressure reading outside of these ranges than it could mean a number of things.
High blood pressure can be an indicator that you have an increased risk of heart failure, stroke and other health conditions. On the other hand, a blood pressure that is too low can cause problems like fainting and may be an indicator of an underlying health condition.
But there are things that you can do to correct your blood pressure, so it is worth knowing.
Although knowing our average blood pressure can be very useful, it varies a lot, and so measuring it can be difficult.
For some people, physically being in a doctors surgery can make them anxious enough to increase their blood pressure. This is often referred to as White Coat Hypertension . This is one good reason why taking your blood pressure at home could be a good idea.
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Using An Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor
How To Self Monitor
Home blood pressure monitoring is different than taking it at your doctor’s office because youll be comparing one relatively steady measurement to another over time. When scheduling checks, there are some factors to keep in mind so that you get more accurate results. Follow these tips if you are testing at home:
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What Should I Do If My Blood Pressure Is 160 Over 100
If your blood pressure is higher than 160/100 mmHg, then three visits are enough. If your blood pressure is higher than 140/90 mmHg, then five visits are needed before a diagnosis can be made. If either your systolic or diastolic blood pressure stays high, then the diagnosis of hypertension can be made.
How Can I Get My Blood Pressure Checked
To test your blood pressure, a nurse or doctor will put a cuff around your upper arm. The nurse or doctor will pump the cuff with air until it feels tight, then slowly let it out. This takes just a few minutes.
You can find out what your blood pressure numbers are right after the test is over. If the test shows that your blood pressure is high, ask the doctor what to do next.
Blood pressure can go up and down, so its a good idea to get it checked more than once.
Can I check my blood pressure by myself?
Yes. Many shopping malls, pharmacies, and grocery stores have blood pressure machines you can use in the store. You can also buy a home blood pressure monitor at a drug store. If the test shows that your blood pressure is high, talk to your doctor.
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How To Take Blood Pressure Readings
Taking readings requires some thought and preparation, though it will soon become second nature. There are several things to remember:
- Relax. Steer clear of caffeine and exercise for thirty minutes beforehand, and rest for a few minutes. Sit comfortably upright with your feet flat on the floor and with your back supported.
- Position your arm correctly. Rest it on a flat surface, with your upper arm level with your heart.
- Position the cuff correctly, with the bottom edge just above your elbow.
The instruction manual of your device will also provide you with clear instructions.
How Does My Circadian Rhythm Affect My Blood Pressure Medication
Michael Smolensky, adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Texas, Ausin, reports, â”The body doesn’t respond to medications in the same way at different times of the day. Some drugs are not as effective or as well tolerated if they’re taken at the wrong biological time. It’s not that they’re not effective at all, but they’re certainly much less effective.”Studies on chronotherapy have found that taking high blood pressure medications before bedtime help with the non-dipping issue. This reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke by normalizing your daily blood pressure rhythm. Specifically, it has been reported that drugs called ACE inhibitors and ARBs are the most effective when taken at bedtime.
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How To Take Your Blood Pressure At Home
Tips for using a blood pressure cuff or wireless blood pressure monitor for accurate readings.
Taking your blood pressure at home is easy with a digital blood pressure monitor.
Every time your heart beats, it pumps blood through your circulatory system, putting pressure on your blood vessels — the veins, arteries and capillaries. This is known as your blood pressure and without it, your bones, muscles, organs and other tissues wouldn’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need. Your body’s various systems, like the immune and digestive systems, also wouldn’t function without blood pressure.
But there can always be too much of a good thing, right? High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, occurs when the force against your blood vessel walls becomes too high, which can kick your heart into overdrive and lead to serious health problems like heart attack and stroke.
Monitoring Your Blood Pressure
Taking your blood pressure at home is key, says Luke. If youre monitoring regularly, its not something you want to do every day, but you want to make it part of your routine a couple times a week. Taking it at various times throughout the day is also more accurate than the readings you receive at your doctors office, surprisingly, she says.
When patients are worried about having an appointment, finding parking and getting to their doctors office on time, these stress factors actually affect their blood pressure and whats taken at the time of their appointment may not be accurate.
Luke advises scheduling your readings around the time of your medications, or when you have breakfast, lunch or dinner. Try setting an alarm for when youre relaxing and watching television at night.
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Apps To Track Blood Pressure
Although there are apps that promise to check your blood pressure without using equipment, this isnt an accurate or reliable method.
However, there are apps available that can help you track your blood pressure results. This can be helpful in identifying patterns in your blood pressure. Your doctor may use this information to determine if you require blood pressure medications.
Some examples of free blood pressure-monitoring apps include:
- Blood Pressure Monitor Family Litefor iPhone. You can enter your blood pressure, weight, and height, as well as track the medications you take.
- Blood Pressure for Android. This app tracks your blood pressure and features several statistical and graphical analysis tools.
- Blood Pressure Companion for iPhone. This app allows you to track your blood pressure as well as view graphs and trends on your blood pressure readings across several days or weeks.
These apps can help you quickly and easily track your blood pressure readings. Measuring your blood pressure regularly on the same arm can help you most accurately track your blood pressure readings.
Keep A Blood Pressure Diary
Keep a blood pressure diary. Your records may help explain changes in your blood pressure readings and help your doctor make sure you get the right treatment.
Everyone’s blood pressure changes from day to day and even from minute to minute sometimes. Blood pressure tends to be higher in the morning and lower at night. Stress, smoking, eating, exercise, cold, pain, noise, medicines, and even talking can affect it.
Record your blood pressure numbers with the date and time. You might use a home blood pressure log or a spreadsheet on your computer. Your monitor might have a feature that will record your numbers for you. Some monitors can transfer this information to your computer.
Also record your daily activities, such as the time you take medicine or if you feel upset or feel stressed.
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Reasons A Doctor May Recommend Monitoring Blood Pressure At Home Include Needing To Know The Blood Pressure At Certain Times
· place the arm cuff just above your elbow. To determine the right cuff size for you, with your arm hanging at the . · press the power button. Place the fingers on the inside of the wrist to locate the pulse. Because your doctor has asked you to, or because you want to keep an eye on . Even if you’re generally healthy and don’t have a family history of hypertension, it’s still worth checking your blood pressure every so . However, even a device that has passed an accepted validation test will not provide accurate readings in all patients The error may be consistently ± 5 mm hg. Now, take two fingers and place them . Buy a blood pressure monitor · step 2: Talk with your health care team about regularly measuring your blood pressure at home, also called . Determine when to take your blood pressure · step 4: Many home blood pressure monitors are just as accurate as the doctor’s office.
How can i measure my blood pressure at home? All display symbols should appear briefly, . However, even a device that has passed an accepted validation test will not provide accurate readings in all patients Even if you’re generally healthy and don’t have a family history of hypertension, it’s still worth checking your blood pressure every so . Because your doctor has asked you to, or because you want to keep an eye on .
How Can I Check My Blood Pressure At Home Without A Machine Topic Guide
- Blood pressure, a measurement of the force of blood flow inside the body, can tell a doctor a lot about your cardiovascular health. Once you are an adult, there is a standard healthy range you should aim for through diet and lifestyle, or medication if necessary. There is a greater range of healthy blood pressure readings for children and adolescents as body size, hormones and growth rates may affect this measurement.
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Tips For Getting An Accurate Blood Pressure Reading
To accurately monitor your blood pressure over time, you shouldn’t just plop down in a chair whenever to do a reading. Instead, you should implement some simple practices that help ensure accuracy.
1. Take your blood pressure at the same time of day for every new recording.
2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol at least 30 minutes prior to your reading.
3. Avoid exercise within 30 minutes of taking your blood pressure.
4. Sit up straight and be still throughout the measurement.
5. Take multiple measurements and record all of the results with the date and time.
6. Don’t wear the blood pressure cuff over clothes.
Your blood pressure should be easy to read on a digital monitor, like this one.
What Does Your Blood Pressure Reading Mean
If this is your first time taking your blood pressure, discuss the results with your doctor. Blood pressure is a very individualized vital sign reading, which means it can be very different for each person. Some people have naturally low blood pressure all the time, for example, while others may run on the higher side.
In general, a normal blood pressure is considered anything less than 120/80. Your own personal blood pressure will depend on your gender, age, weight, and any medical conditions you have. If you do register a blood pressure reading of 120/80 or over, wait two to five minutes and recheck.
If its still high, talk to your doctor to rule out hypertension. If your blood pressure ever goes over 180 systolic or over 120 diastolic after a repeat reading, seek emergency medical care right away.
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How To Check Blood Pressure Without Equipment
In a healthy young adult, the average value of blood pressure is usually 120/80 millimeters of mercury .
But what do these numbers mean? The first number represents the systolic pressure or amount of pressure generated while the heart pumps blood and then contracts for the blood to leave the heart.
In simple terms, the systolic pressure measures the pressure created by the contractions of the heart.
On the other hand, the second value measures the diastolic pressure, which is the pressure existing in the arteries of the heart while it rests.
Expressed in simple terms, the diastolic pressure readings measure the pressure of the heart when it is at rest.
These two figures combine to give doctors an accurate reading of heart muscle function.
If the numbers are too high, this is the first indication of a possible condition called high blood pressure or hypertension.
Although it is impossible to adequately measure blood pressure without some type of equipment, you can make a good estimate of the systolic pressure.
To measure the diastolic pressure, however, you should use a blood pressure monitor and a stethoscope. No measurement requires the use of high-tech equipment or a doctorâs diploma.
Through this article, you will learn how to measure blood pressure with little or no equipment.