Measuring Your Blood Pressure At Home
You can also diagnose yourself with hypertension by measuring your blood pressure at home. If readings are high over two visits at the doctors office, and if your blood pressure is higher than 135/85 mmHg when properly measured at home, then the diagnosis of hypertension can be made. This requires you to measure your blood pressure twice a day, in the morning and evening, for one week. Pay no attention to the measurements from the first day. Measuring blood pressure at home requires accurate equipment and proper measuring techniques. Measure the blood pressure of others in your house their blood pressure may also be high.
How Can Eating Affect Your Blood Pressure
When a person eats, their body redirects blood to the digestive tract to aid with digestion. This causes a temporary decrease in blood pressure elsewhere in the body.
To compensate, blood vessels outside of the digestive tract constrict, causing the heart to beat faster and more forcefully. This helps maintain healthy blood pressure throughout the body.
Some people experience a persistent drop in blood pressure after eating. This happens when the blood vessels outside of the digestive system do not constrict. Doctors refer to this condition as postprandial hypotension, or low blood pressure after eating.
A person with high blood pressure is more likely to experience postprandial hypotension.
Postprandial hypotension can cause complications such as:
- visual disturbances
- angina, or chest pain
Fasting for long periods can also cause a drop in blood pressure. Additionally, it may increase a persons risk of developing electrolyte imbalances and nutrient deficiencies.
Meanwhile, certain foods can increase a persons blood pressure after eating: Foods that contain a lot of salt may cause a temporary spike, while foods with saturated fats present a longer-term risk.
People with prehypertension or hypertension should limit their intake of foods that could further increase their blood pressure: foods that contain salt or saturated fat.
Factors That Can Exaggerate Blood Pressure Readings
When you go to the doctors office, measuring blood pressure is one ofthe ways doctors can check up on your heart health. The only way to diagnosehigh blood pressure, or hypertension, is by a blood pressure test.
A healthy blood pressure reading is anywhere between 90/60 and 120/80.Anything 140/90 or above is considered a highblood pressure reading, which couldbe a diagnosis of hypertension, one of the leading causes of heart disease thatcan lead to heart attacks, kidney failure, stroke, and even dementia. If yourblood pressure measures below 90/60, that could be an indicator of hypotension,or low blood pressure, which can result in dizziness, fainting, and long-termdamage to the heart and brain.
Because of the associated risks, a higher or lower than normal blood pressurereading in a healthy adult can be alarming. But did you know there are a numberof factors that can cause a temporary spike or drop in your blood pressure,leading to a false reading? Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to preparefor your test to ensure an accurate reading.
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Best Time Of Day To Take Blood Pressure Medications
Labels on prescription drugs often tell you to take a tablet “once a day” without specifying the best time of day to take themand in some cases timing doesn’t matter. With blood pressure medications, however, it can matter when you take them. The best time of day to take blood pressure drugs varies depending on which ones you take , as well on your reason for taking them and any other health issues you may have.
How To Take & Record Blood Pressure
- Wait for at least 30 minutes after drinking alcohol or caffeine, smoking or exercise before you take a reading.
- Rest for at least 5 minutes before you take a reading.
- Sit with your legs uncrossed, your back supported and your feet on the floor.
- Rest your arm at heart level on a table.
- Measure your blood pressure in both arms the first time you use a monitor.
- Use the arm with the highest reading to take future readings.
- Take your blood pressure twice a day for 7 days. Take 2-3 readings in the morning before taking your medicines, and in the evening. Each reading should be 2 minutes apart.
- Use a log to record your readings or print the numbers stored in your monitor.
- Always take your log or bring your monitor with stored readings to show your doctor or nurse.
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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.
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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How Long Can One Check Blood Pressure After Eating
How long can one check blood pressure after eating
- How long can one check blood pressure after eating
- You may want to wait until an hour after smoking, eating, or drinking coffee or cola, to take a reading. ChaCha!
Does What You Eat Matter
You can affect your blood pressure with diet.
The DASH diet is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in:
If youre monitoring your blood pressure at home, there are many factors that might affect the reading, including:
To make sure youre getting accurate information, bring your home blood pressure monitor to your doctors office once a year. You can compare its readings with the readings from your doctors equipment.
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Take Your High Blood Pressure Drugs Exactly As Prescribed
High blood pressure drugs work best if you take them as your doctor has prescribed them. So you need to take the right amount at the right times every day. Ask your doctor or pharmacist these questions:
- How much of the medication should I take?
- How often should I take it?
- Are there special instructions, such as to take the drug with food?
- What should I do if I miss a dose?
Have Your Blood Pressure Measured Regularly
Have your blood pressure measured regularly and know what your blood pressure is. Remember that both numbers are important. If either the systolic or diastolic number is high , then your doctor will need to further check your blood pressure. A blood pressure measurement of less than 120/80 mmHg is very good unless it causes dizziness.
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So You Have High Blood Pressure What Else Could Be Wrong
If you have high blood pressure, get checked for diabetes and high cholesterol. Most people who have high blood pressure also have some of the other risks for heart disease and stroke, such as not getting enough physical activity, having unhealthy eating habits, smoking, being overweight or drinking too much alcohol. Ask your doctor to test your kidney function through a blood and urine test, and through the electrolytes in your blood kidney problems can cause high blood pressure.
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How Do You Calm Down Before Blood Pressure
There are ways to relax during a home or even in-office blood pressure test so you can get a good reading. Time it well. Timing is important when it comes to taking blood pressure. Go to the bathroom. Wait for a few minutes. Check your breathing. Visualize. Make small talk. Keep practicing. Live a healthy lifestyle.
How To Measure Your Blood Pressure At Home Using A Home Monitor
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Learn About Your Medicines
- Most people with high blood pressure need at least two medicines to lower their blood pressure to a healthy level.
- Your doctor or nurse may need to change your medicines to find what works best for you. This is normal.
- If you don’t feel well after taking a medicine, call your doctor or nurse.
- Don’t stop taking your medicine until you talk with your doctor or nurse.
Salt Intake And High Blood Pressure
Reducing the amount of salt you eat can also help to manage or even avoid high blood pressure. To help reduce your salt intake:
- Ensure your diet consists of wholefoods including vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, lean meat and poultry, fish and seafood, legumes, unsalted nuts and seeds.
- Avoid packaged and processed foods that are high in salt. You cant see the salt in these foods, so you dont know how much salt you are having. Get into the habit of checking food labels.
- Choose low-salt food where possible. If you cant find low-salt products, those with moderate amounts of salt are ok too. Another simple alternative is to look for labels with low salt, salt reduced or no added salt.
- Avoid adding salt to cooking or at the table flavour meals with herbs and spices instead.
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You And Your Medicines
Important information about your medicines:
- Know the name of each medicine you take.
- Carry a list of medicines with you.
- Know how and when to take each medicine.
- Know what side effects to report to your doctor or nurse.
- Tell your doctor or nurse about all of the vitamins, herbs, supplements and pills you take.
- Never stop taking a medicine without calling your doctor or nurse.
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Tips To Measure Your Blood Pressure Correctly
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.
Other Tips For Accurate Readings
“The exercise of walking around can raise blood pressure, so you should always rest for about five minutes before taking your blood pressure,” says Dr. Kotwal. “Sit in a chair and keep both feet on the ground. Avoid crossing your legs.”
The AHA says don’t smoke, drink caffeine or exercise for 30 minutes before a blood pressure check. When taking your blood pressure, you should sit in a chair with your back supported. It doesn’t matter which arm you use to take your blood pressure. If your monitor doesn’t have a built-in recorder, make sure to write down your readings so you can share them with your doctor.
Other tips, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , for taking your blood pressure include:
- Don’t let your arm hang down, as this canincrease pressure. Support your arm on a table so that your arm is level withyour heart.
- Empty your bladder before you sit down fora blood pressure check.
- Make sure the blood pressure cuff isplaced over your bare arm, not over a shirtsleeve.
- Take two or more readings spaced about oneto two minutes apart to get the most accurate results.
Ask your doctor what the normal range should be for your blood pressure. Don’t worry if you have an occasional high reading, but let your doctor know if you’re getting readings that are consistently higher than normal â high blood pressure usually has no symptoms.
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Can Taking Blood Pressure Too Much Hurt You
As long as you use your blood pressure monitor as designed, taking your blood pressure too often should not hurt you. A home monitor releases the pressure in the cuff slower than a standard measurement at your doctors office. This can feel uncomfortable and possibly leave a mark on your skin. This is more likely to happen if you take your pressure too often or if your cuff size is too small.
Its possible, in people who are at increased risk for capillary fragility, to experience a condition called tourniquet-induced petechiae. After prolonged compression of a blood pressure cuff, a red rash or red dots, can appear on the skin . Although rare, this condition has occurred to patients in a hospital after repeated blood pressure readings during monitoring or surgery.
The following are ways to prevent petechiae:
- Dont take your blood pressure unnecessarily.
- Use the right size cuff.
- Position the cuff properly on your arm.
- Follow the instructions in your monitor manual.
In addition, taking your pressure too often can set back your blood pressure goals. This can hurt your progress, which leads me to the topic further down, When Not To Take Blood Pressure.
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