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How Do You Read Blood Pressure

How Is Blood Pressure Measured

Blood Pressure Measurement: How to Check Blood Pressure Manually

It’s important to measure blood pressure more than once because it fluctuates over the course of the day. It can also change due to things like physical exertion, stress, pain, or extreme heat or cold. But this kind of increase in blood pressure is only temporary and it soon returns to normal.

So, if blood pressure is measured just once and found to be high, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s always too high. A blood pressure reading taken at the doctors office can also be misleading: Going to the doctor makes some people so nervous that their blood pressure goes up.

So to get reliable readings, blood pressure is measured on several different days and while you are resting. This means sitting down and relaxing on a chair, and waiting about three minutes before taking a measurement so that your circulatory system comes to rest. The upper arm that is being used for the measurement should rest on a table, at about the same height as the heart, while the reading is being done.

You can measure your blood pressure on your own using a digital blood pressure monitor for automated readings or an instrument called a sphygmomanometer for manual readings.

Track Your Blood Pressure Starting Today

There you have it, your easy-to-understand guide on the blood pressure chart in Canada. Just remember that 120/80 mmHg is the ideal BP level you should aim for. If it’s 135/85 mmHg or higher, see your doctor for a professional hypertension diagnosis.

It may also be a good idea to get extra health coverage to help with hypertension health costs. Specific health plans provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure.

Our team here at Insurdinary can help you secure the best health insurance quotes in Canada. Send us a message now so that we can start rounding up the top offers suited for your needs.

What Is The Correct Way To Measure Blood Pressure

Learn the correct way to have your blood pressure taken, whether youre getting it checked at the doctors office or checking it yourself at home. Use this checklist:

  • Dont eat or drink anything 30 minutes before you take your blood pressure.
  • Empty your bladder before your reading.
  • Sit in a comfortable chair with your back supported for at least 5 minutes before your reading.
  • Put both feet flat on the ground and keep your legs uncrossed.
  • Rest your arm with the cuff on a table at chest height.
  • Make sure the blood pressure cuff is snug but not too tight. The cuff should be against your bare skin, not over clothing.
  • Do not talk while your blood pressure is being measured.

If you are keeping track of your blood pressure at home, use these additional tips.

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High Blood Pressure Risk Factors For Blacks

Being Black is a risk factor for developing high blood pressure. Others include:

  • Increased age
  • High dietary salt and fat
  • Low intake of potassium
  • Smoking

The more risk factors you have, the more likely it is that you have high blood pressure or will develop it in the future. Take steps now to find out more. Even if you don’t have high blood pressure, you can lower your risk by following the treatment guidelines for high blood pressure in Blacks.

Tips To Measure Your Blood Pressure Correctly

Do You Know What Your Blood Pressure Reading Means?

To determine whether you have hypertension, a medical professional will take a blood pressure reading. How you prepare for the test, the position of your arm, and other factors can change a blood pressure reading by 10% or more. That could be enough to hide high blood pressure, start you on a drug you don’t really need, or lead your doctor to incorrectly adjust your medications.

National and international guidelines offer specific instructions for measuring blood pressure. If a doctor, nurse, or medical assistant isn’t doing it right, don’t hesitate to ask him or her to get with the guidelines.

Here’s what you can do to ensure a correct reading:

Don’t drink a caffeinated beverage or smoke during the 30 minutes before the test.

Sit quietly for five minutes before the test begins.

During the measurement, sit in a chair with your feet on the floor and your arm supported so your elbow is at about heart level.

The inflatable part of the cuff should completely cover at least 80% of your upper arm, and the cuff should be placed on bare skin, not over a shirt.

Don’t talk during the measurement.

Have your blood pressure measured twice, with a brief break in between. If the readings are different by 5 points or more, have it done a third time.

For more on getting your blood pressure under control, buy Controlling Your Blood Pressure, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

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What Are The Best Ways To Lower Blood Pressure

Physical activity is no doubt one of the fastest, most natural ways to lower your blood pressure. Walking for even just half an hour each day can bring your blood pressure down. Of course, the more exercise you do, such as riding a bike, the greater the results you’ll see.

You should also feast on more berries, bananas, beets, kiwis, and watermelon. Dark chocolate, oats, and leafy green veggies are also BP-friendly food choices.

As for healthy beverages, try reaching out for unsalted tomato juice. Researchers found that one cup a day can improve both SBP and DBP. The scientists also say it can help reduce bad cholesterol levels.

Juice made from beets, prunes, and berries, as well as tea and skim milk, may also benefit your blood pressure. You should also try oat milk, a healthy, delicious alternative to dairy milk.

Blood Pressure Monitoring System Features

  • Works offline or online for flexible use.
  • Measures and tracks your systolic/diastolic numbers, your heart rate, pulse wave and measurement time.
  • Holds an unlimited number of profiles. So everyone in your household can use this one monitoring system.
  • Keep track of your physical activities and daily diet.
  • You can use with iHealth app to monitor, track and store your blood pressure readings.
  • Has Bluetooth 3.0 and EDR technology. Enables use with most Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod touch models, so you can easily monitor and share your results.
  • Gives you immediate evaluation, and reasons of your results that is relative to the standard guidelines set by the World Health Organization . All this is color-coded for easy referencing.
  • You also have the ability to send by email your data or graphic to your cardiologist.

Even more exciting feature is the compact base stand with dock for your iPhone or iPad is battery powered, is rechargeable using either your computer’s USB port or directly from your Apple USB Power pack.

It is easy to use and reviews have been great with a five star rating. Weighing 1.7 pounds it is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.

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What Does A Blood Pressure Reading Look Like

When you have your , you will be given two numbers, a top number and a bottom number.

  • Systolic blood pressure. This is the first, or top, number. This is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats, forcing blood around your body.
  • Diastolic blood pressure. The second number, or bottom number, is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats.

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury . If the first number is 120 and the second number is 80, this would be written as 120/80mmHg, and youd call it 120 over 80.

This video explains more about systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

When To Check Blood Pressure

How to Read Your Own Blood Pressure
  • If your blood pressure is normal , get it checked every year, or more often as your doctor suggests.
  • If your blood pressure is elevated — a systolic blood pressure between 120 and 129 or diastolic blood pressure of less than 80 — your doctor will probably want to check it every 3-6 months. They will probably recommend lifestyle changes like more exercise and a better diet.
  • If you have stage 1 hypertension — 130-139 over 89-90 — the doctor might suggest lifestyle changes and see you again in 3-6 months. Or they could tell you to make the changes and give you medication, then recheck your condition in a month. It depends on what other health conditions or risk factors you have.
  • If you have stage 2 hypertension — 140/90 or higher — youâll likely get medication. You’ll also need to make lifestyle changes and see the doctor again in a month.

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What Cuff Size Do You Need

Most blood pressure monitors come with a medium sized cuff already fitted. While this will be suitable for the majority of users, there are different sized cuffs available for several of the monitors in our test if your arm is exceptionally large or small.

To get the right cuff size for an arm model, measure your arm’s circumference halfway between your shoulder and elbow, while standing with your arm hanging at your side. A circumference of 1822cm requires a small cuff, 2232cm requires a medium cuff, and above 32cm you’ll need a large cuff but check the measurements against the manufacturer’s instructions on the product you intend to buy.

What Does The Diastolic Blood Pressure Number Mean

The diastolic reading, or the bottom number, is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. This is the time when the heart fills with blood and gets oxygen.

This is what your diastolic blood pressure number means:

  • Normal: Lower than 80
  • Stage 2 hypertension: 90 or more
  • Hypertensive crisis: 120 or more. Call 911.

Our chart below has more details.

Even if your diastolic number is normal , you can have elevated blood pressure if the systolic reading is 120-129.

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What Happens During A Blood Pressure Test

A blood pressure test includes the following steps:

  • You will sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  • You will rest your arm on a table or other surface, so your arm is level with your heart. You may be asked to roll up your sleeve.
  • Your provider will wrap a blood pressure cuff around your arm. A blood pressure cuff is a strap-like device. It should fit snugly around your upper arm, with the bottom edge placed just above your elbow.
  • Your provider will inflate the blood pressure cuff using a small hand pump or by pressing a button on an automated device.
  • Your provider will measure the pressure manually or with an automated device.
  • If manually, he or she will place a stethoscope over the major artery in your upper arm to listen to the blood flow and pulse as the cuff inflates and deflates.
  • If using an automated device, the blood pressure cuff automatically inflates, deflates, and measures pressure.
  • As the blood pressure cuff inflates, you’ll feel it tighten around your arm.
  • Your provider will then open a valve on the cuff to slowly release air from it. As the cuff deflates, blood pressure will fall.
  • As the pressure falls, a measurement is taken when the sound of blood pulsing is first heard. This is the systolic pressure.
  • As the air continues to be let out, the blood pulsing sound will start to go away. When it completely stops, another measurement is taken. This is the diastolic pressure.
  • This test only takes about one minute to complete.

    Where Can I Learn How To Take My Blood Pressure Myself

    What Is a Good Blood Pressure Reading and How to Check It ...

    In Germany and other countries, people with high blood pressure can attend patient education courses that teach a number of things, including how to measure your blood pressure. As part of specialized disease management programs for people who have narrow coronary arteries , statutory health insurers offer additional healthcare services. These include patient education about high blood pressure. Some doctors practices don’t offer these courses, though.

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    Preparing To Check Your Blood Pressure

  • 1Verify that you have the right cuff size.XResearch source A standard size blood pressure cuff purchased from a drugstore will fit around the arm of most adults. However, if you have an especially narrow or wide arm, or if you plan to take the blood pressure of a child, you may need a different size.
  • Check the size of a cuff before buying it. Look at the “index” line. This is the range line on the cuff that tells you if it fits.XResearch source Once it is on the patient’s arm it will tell you whether or not the circumference of your arm fits within the “range” area of the cuff.
  • If you do not use the proper cuff size, you may end up with an inaccurate measurement.
  • 2Avoid factors that can increase blood pressure. Certain conditions can cause blood pressure to spike temporarily. In order to get an accurate measurement, you or your patient should avoid these conditions before taking your blood pressure.
  • Factors that can affect blood pressure include: stress, smoking, exercise, cold temperatures, a full stomach, a full bladder, caffeine, and some medications. XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Heart AssociationLeading nonprofit that funds medical research and public educationGo to source
  • Blood pressure can change throughout the course of the day. If you need to check the patient’s blood pressure regularly, try to do so at the same approximate time each day.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Heart AssociationLeading nonprofit that funds medical research and public educationGo to source
  • Why Is High Blood Pressure Common In Blacks

    To date, researchers do not have a definitive answer to this question, but some believe that high blood pressure in Blacks may be triggered by the following factors:

    • Genetic factors. High rates of high blood pressure in Blacks may be due to the genetic make-up of people of African descent. Researchers have uncovered some facts: In the U.S, blacks respond differently to high blood pressure drugs than do other groups of people. Blacks in the U.S. also seem to be more sensitive to salt, which increases the risk of developing high blood pressure.
    • Environmental factors. Some scientists believe that high blood pressure in Blacks is due to factors unique to the experience of blacks in the U.S. Blacks worldwide have rates of high blood pressure that are similar to whites. In the U.S., however, the difference is dramatic: 41% of Blacks have high blood pressure, as compared to 27% of whites. In addition, Black people in the U.S are more likely to be overweight than Blacks in other countries. Some experts think that social and economic factors — including discrimination and economic inequality — are responsible for this difference.

    Researchers will hopefully find the causes for the high incidence of high blood pressure in Blacks. In the meantime, there is a lot you can do to keep high blood pressure from damaging your health.

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    Healthy And Unhealthy Blood Pressure Ranges

    Learn whats considered normal, as recommended by the American Heart Association.

    Blood Pressure Chart

    SYSTOLIC mm Hg and/or DIASTOLIC mm Hg
    NORMAL
    HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE STAGE 1 130 139
    HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE STAGE 2 140 OR HIGHER
    HYPERTENSIVE CRISIS HIGHER THAN 180 and/or HIGHER THAN 120

    Note: A diagnosis of high blood pressure must be confirmed with a medical professional. A doctor should also evaluate any unusually low blood pressure readings.

    The five blood pressure ranges as recognized by the American Heart Association are:

    How Are Blood Pressure Levels Categorized

    How To Take a Blood Pressure Reading

    There are four blood pressure categories:

    • Normal blood pressure: Systolic below 120 and diastolic below 80 mm Hg
    • Prehypertension: Systolic between 120-139 and diastolic between 80-89 mm Hg
    • Stage I hypertension: Systolic between 140-159 and diastolic between 90-99 mm Hg
    • Stage II hypertension: Systolic above 160 and diastolic above 100 mm Hg

    Monitoring your blood pressure levels can help you prevent or delay the onset of high blood pressure and related health problems. If you notice that your blood pressure readings are getting higher, talk to your doctor. They can help you set goals and recommend lifestyle changes that can help you get the numbers back down and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

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    What Is Blood Pressure And How Is It Measured

    The heart supplies the organs and tissues of the body with blood. With every beat, it pumps blood into the large blood vessels of the circulatory system. As the blood moves around the body, it puts pressure on the walls of the vessels. Blood pressure readings are made up of two values:

    • Systolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart beats while the heart muscle is contracting and pumping oxygen-rich blood into the blood vessels.
    • Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure on the blood vessels when the heart muscle relaxes. The diastolic pressure is always lower than the systolic pressure.

    Blood pressure is measured in units of millimeters of mercury . The readings are always given in pairs, with the upper value first, followed by the lower value.

    So someone who has a reading of 132/88 mmHg has a

    • systolic blood pressure of 132 mmHg, and a
    • diastolic blood pressure of 88 mmHg.

    Why Monitor At Home

    There are a few reasons why you may be monitoring your blood pressure at home.

    • It can increase accountability and motivation, just as weighing for yourself when trying to lose weight can do.
    • Having so many readings gives you the opportunity to learn your personal patterns and what may affect your blood pressure. Using Lark can increase your understanding as it explains trends and offers insights.
    • Creates a history that you can show your doctor in case treatment or prescriptions need to change. Lark also helps with this as your history is easy to send to your doctor.

    Participants in Lark who used a home blood pressure monitor along with Larks health coaching, on average, experienced a decrease in systolic blood pressure of over 8 mm Hg thats enough to reduce the risk of a stroke by over 30%!

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