What Is The Best Way To Measure Blood Pressure
The most accurate way to measure blood pressure is using a sphygmomanometer and stethoscope. When you get your blood pressure measured at a medical office, your doctor uses a sphygmomanometer that includes a dial or column, pump, arm cuff, and stethoscope:
- The cuff is wrapped around your arm while your arm is kept at the same level as your heart.
- The pump tightens the cuff around your arm, putting pressure on the artery.
- Your doctor then releases the pressure and uses a stethoscope to measure your pulse rate.
- Your doctor records the pressure on the dial as your blood starts to flow back to your arm and checks two measurement points to determine your blood pressure reading.
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.
What Is A Healthy Blood Pressure Reading
Your blood pressure measures the force of the blood being pushed through your body as your heart beats.
The first number is called your systolic pressure. It measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart pumps. The second number is called your diastolic pressure, which measures the pressure in your blood vessels in between heartbeats.
A single blood pressure reading in the higher range isnt cause for concern, but if youre regularly getting higher readings, a medical professional will make a plan to help you lower your numbers.
Elevated blood pressure categories include:
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S To Follow To Measure Blood Pressure Without Equipment
Slide the first two fingers of one hand on the wrist of the opposite hand. With the palm facing up, the radial pulse is below the thumb and slightly above the wrist. Find this site with your fingers.
Move your fingers delicately until you feel the pulse You can do it in most people. This is when the measurement of blood pressure without equipment comes into play.
The mere fact that you can feel the radial pulse indicates that the pressure is above 80 mm Hg. The more prominent the pulse, the higher the tension.
If the pulse is weak, it means that it is closer to the minimum value mentioned.
Use a tensiometer if you need a more accurate systolic pressure reading or if you need to know the diastolic pressure. Place the cuff of the tensiometer around the brachial artery, this runs along the inside of the arm, it becomes more noticeable on one side of the elbow.
Place a stethoscope on the brachial artery and then insufflate the tensiometer until you stop feeling the pulse.
Then, slowly, let the air come out at the rate of 2 millimeters of mercury per second. Pay attention to the meter number where you start to feel the pulse again. This is the systolic value.
Let the air continue to come out slowly until you feel no pulse from the brachial artery.
This point marks the diastolic pressure. In children, it will simply sound off.
Should The First Blood Pressure Reading Be Discarded
If you prepared properly for your blood pressure measurements, the first reading should be undiscarded. All blood pressure readings should be recorded and shown to your physician. Blood pressure should be based on an average of readings from two or more occasions.
Sometimes people dont prepare properly for the first reading like skipping the five minutes of quiet time. In this situation the first reading wouldnt be a true indication and shouldnt have been taken in the first place.
Even though youre taking two or three measurements youll probably get different blood pressure readings within minutes 4. If you followed all the steps listed above, the readings shouldnt differ too much. Record all the readings in the following manner:
- On your monitor if it keeps a record for you.
- On your BP phone app. My monitor connects to my phone BP app and transmits all the readings to my phone. It keeps track of the readings, dates and times. It also organizes them into handy charts and allows me to email them to my physician. I absolutely love this feature, and its included with the monitor! My monitor is made by Welch Allyn, you can read my complete, detailed review by clicking here, Welch Allyn 1700 Series Home Monitor.
- You can also jot it down on paper or a blood pressure log. It doesnt really matter how you record them, as long as you do.
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Blood Pressure Monitoring At Home
Many people monitor their blood pressure at home. They often do this to manage or treat a certain health condition. If you monitor your blood pressure at home, keep a record, or log, of the measurements. The record shows your doctor how your blood pressure changes throughout the day. If you take medicines to control your blood pressure, it will help document if they are working. Measuring your blood pressure at home is a good way to take part in managing your health.
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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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Why do I need to monitor my blood pressure at home?
- How often do I need to measure my blood pressure?
- What type of monitor should I use?
- What do my blood pressure readings mean?
- What is considered a normal blood pressure for me?
- What should I do if my readings are abnormal?
- Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to help manage my blood pressure?
- Do I need to take medicine to manage my blood pressure?
- What other things can affect a blood pressure reading?
What Equipment Do I Need To Measure My Blood Pressure At Home
To measure your blood pressure at home, you can use either an aneroid monitor or digital monitor. Choose the type of monitor that best meets your needs. Look at the following features when you select a monitor.
- Size: The right cuff size is very important. The cuff size you need is based on the size of your arm. You can ask the doctor, nurse, orpharmacist to help you. Blood pressure readings can be wrong if your cuff is the wrong size.
- Price: Cost may be a key factor. Home blood pressure units vary in price. You may want to shop around to find the best deal. Keep in mind that pricey units may not be the best or most accurate.
- Display: The numbers on the monitor should be easy for you to read.
- Sound: You must be able to hear your heartbeat through the stethoscope.
Tests show that finger and wrist devices do not always provide correct measurements. These devices are sensitive to placement and body temperature. They also are expensive and can cost more than $100.
The aneroid monitor manually checks your blood pressure. It has a gauge that you read by looking at a pointer on the dial. The cuff goes around your upper arm and you squeeze a rubber bulb to inflate it by hand.
Inflation of the cuff is either automatic or manual, depending on the model. Deflation is automatic. Digital monitors are good for hearing-impaired patients, since there is no need to listen to your heartbeat through the stethoscope.
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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.
How Do You Calibrate A Blood Pressure Cuff
Calibrating a blood pressure cuff is not difficult, but there are several steps you must go through. You can do this on your own or with the help of a medical professional. You must calibrate your monitor on your arm, otherwise, you will get inaccurate numbers if you calibrate your device on someone elses arm.
Here are the general steps to calibrating your device:
- Step One Sit down and relax for a few minutes. Take a few deep breaths if necessary. Then place the cuff around your upper arm correctly so you can get accurate numbers.
- Step Two Start the device. You will begin to feel the cuff starting to pump up.
- Step Three When the cuff starts to deflate, write down the numbers shown on the monitors display. The systolic number is the most important number you will need to complete the calibration process.
- Step Four You will need to go to the main screen by pressing the home button on the performance monitor. Go to the second screen by tapping the moving arrow, then tap the settings icon.
- Step Five After you reach the settings, select the SBP Calibration option and find the username section. This section is where you will set your username to access your numbers.
- Step Six Be sure the cuff monitor is at heart level, then start the machine to record your blood pressure.
- Step Eight A message will appear for you to put down your systolic blood pressure number by using the keypad.
- Kidney disease and eye damage
- Memory problems and dementia
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How Do I Take My Blood Pressure
Before taking your blood pressure:
- Find a quiet place.
- Roll up the sleeve on your left arm or remove any tight-sleeved clothing, if needed.
- Rest in a chair next to a table for five to 10 minutes.
- Sit up straight with your back against the chair, legs uncrossed.
- Rest your forearm on the table with the palm of your hand facing up.
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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What Else Is Important When Checking My Blood Pressure
Many factors can influence your blood pressure reading. The following guidelines will help you get the best and most accurate results from your blood pressure monitoring.
Avoid Blood Pressure Spikers
Certain factors can increase your blood pressure. It is important to understand how these âspikersâ affect your BP numbers. To learn their effect, check your BP before and after you experience each of the factors listed below. Once you know their effect, avoid these spikers before your daily checkup routine. This will prevent them from interrupting your baseline measurement and will allow you to see if your standard BP is stable. As you establish your BP routine, use the following guidelines to control spikes in your readings.
Choose A Good Machine
Myriad choices exist in todayâs marketplace for home blood pressure monitoring devices. Not all are equal. Be sure to choose an FDA-approved device. Once you have selected a machine, it not a bad idea to take it in to your doctorâs office. Take your blood pressure reading in front of your physician, nurse or PA so they can ensure you are using it properly. Have them to take an additional reading on their machine, to compare for accuracy.
Take the Proper Position for Reliable Blood Pressure ReadingsEnsure you are positioned correctly for accurate blood pressure readings. Put your feet on the floor and straighten your back with arms supported at heart level. Make sure your elbow is at about the same level as your heart.
Avoid Common Errors While Taking Multiple Readings In A Row
Avoid these common errors 5 while resting in between measurements:
- Checking the latest stock market prices.
- Reading or watching the news.
- Getting out of your chair to do a task quickly.
- Changing your body position like crossing your legs or slouching.
- Taking a quick drink or snacking on some food close by.
- Anything other than sitting quietly and remaining relaxed.
In addition to those activities to avoid, prior to starting the first reading make sure to do the following 6:
- Dont exercise within 30 minutes.
- Dont eat or drink within 30 minutes.
- Avoid all caffeine 30 minutes prior to measuring.
- Dont smoke 30 minutes prior.
- Empty your bladder prior to measuring your blood pressure or make sure youre not experiencing the urge to use the bathroom.
- Wear comfortable clothes including short sleeve shirts.
- Sit in an upright chair with your back resting against the chair.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor and dont cross your legs.
- Wrap the cuff around your bare skin and not over clothing, including thin material.
- Maintain your arm in the correct position and the cuff at heart level.
If theres any doubt about how to position your arm 7 or to achieve heart level, please refer to my blog post and refresh yourself on these two crucial details, Effect of Arm Position on Blood Pressure.
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How Do I Measure My Blood Pressure
Before you check your blood pressure, you should:
- Wait 30 minutes after eating or using caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco products.
- Go to the bathroom and empty your bladder.
- Rest for 3 to 5 minutes and do not talk.
- Sit in a comfortable position, with your legs and ankles uncrossed and your back supported.
- Elevate your left arm to the level of your heart. Place it on a table or desk and sit still.
- Wrap the cuff around the upper part of your bare arm. The cuff should be smooth and snug. There should be enough room for you to slip one fingertip under the cuff.
- Check the placement of the cuff. The bottom edge of it should be 1 inch above the crease of your elbow.
Below are the steps to take to use an aneroid monitor.
Below are the steps to take to use a digital monitor.
- Turn the power on to start the unit.
- On the automatic models, the cuff will inflate by itself with a push of a button. On the manual models, you have to inflate the cuff. You do this by squeezing the rubber bulb at a rapid rate.
- After the cuff inflates, the automatic device will slowly let air out.
- Look at the display screen to get your blood pressure reading. It will show your systolic and diastolic pressures. Write down the measurement in your record. The systolic pressure goes in front of the diastolic pressure. For example, 120/80.
- Press the exhaust button to release all of the air from the cuff.
- If you need to repeat the measurement, wait 2 to 3 minutes before starting.
At Home With A Monitor
Home monitoring can be a great way to keep track of your blood pressure on a daily basis.
With home monitoring, you can check your blood pressure throughout the day and at times that are convenient for you. It can help you see how your blood pressure changes throughout the day and help you get a sense of your average blood pressure range.
However, youll need to purchase a blood pressure monitor to do this. Youll also need to learn how to use it and how to record accurate readings.
Its not complicated to learn the basics of many home monitors, but it can still be easy to make a mistake.
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