Tips For Taking Your Blood Pressure At Home
Its not uncommon for patients to have normal blood pressure readings at home but high blood pressure readings at their doctor appointments. This can be very frustrating for hypertensive patients, especially those who are diligent about keeping their high blood pressure under control.
Patients often are nervous about what their blood pressure will be when its measured at their doctors office, and that anxiety causes their blood pressure to go up. Its known as white coat hypertension, and its particularly common among elderly patients.
For that reason, I encourage my patients who take hypertension medication to monitor their blood pressure numbers at home.
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How Do I Apply The Pre
Why Does My Blood Pressure Vary Throughout The Day
You may have heard the term circadian rhythm. If so, you know this is not a beat to keep on the dance floor. It is a biological cycle your body follows. As defined by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, âCircadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organisms environment.â As your body cycles through this rhythm each day, responding to both internal and external stimuli, your blood pressure is affected.
The study of these important rhythms, known as chronobiology, was founded by Franz Halberg. His work in this field has helped identify abnormal rhythms in day-night blood pressure readings.Keeping the Beat of Blood PressureFollowing this chronobiological rhythm, your blood pressure is normally higher during the daytime and lower at night, during sleeping hours. Hereâs the problem. People with high blood pressure often donât experience this night time dip. This lack of a lowering of blood pressure at night is referred to as non-dipping.Whatâs the big deal? Heart attack and stroke have been found to be associated with non-dipping. Your blood pressure stays elevated, and your body is not in the relaxed state it should be during rest.
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What Is The Difference Between Monitoring Blood Pressure Using A Home Digital Monitor As Opposed To Getting My Reading When I See My Doctor
Digital monitors measure blood pressure oscillometrically rather than by auscultation. In auscultation, stethoscopes are used to take blood pressure by listening for specific heartbeat sounds which the doctor then uses to determine systolic and diastolic pressures. Oscillometric technology measures the vibration of blood traveling through the arteries and converts the movement into digital readings.
Omron digital blood pressure monitors use the oscillometric method of blood pressure measurement. An oscillometric monitor does not need a stethoscope so the monitor is simple to use.
It is also important to note that Home Blood Pressure monitoring allows you to monitor frequently and share the results with your doctor if you desire.
What Is A Blood Pressure Measurement
Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood into your arteries. A blood pressure measurement is a test that measures the force in your arteries as your heart pumps. Blood pressure is measured as two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure measures pressure inside your arteries when the heart beats.
- Diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure inside the artery when the heart rests between beats.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects tens of millions of adults in the United States. It increases the risk of life-threatening conditions including heart attack and stroke. But high blood pressure rarely causes symptoms. A blood pressure measurement helps diagnose high blood pressure early, so it may be treated before it leads to serious complications.
Other names: blood pressure reading, blood pressure test, blood pressure screening, sphygmomanometry
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Taking Your Pulse Versus Checking Your Blood Pressure
While both are indications of health, blood pressure and heart rate are two separate measurements. Learn more about the difference between blood pressure and heart rate.
Systolic is less than 120 and my diastolic is less than 80
Systolic is 120 129 and my diastolic is less than 80
The good news is that you dont have high blood pressure. However, your numbers fall within the Elevated category, making you more likely to develop high blood pressure unless you take action to control it. Ready to make some small changes that have big impacts? Healthy lifestyle choices are a great place to start.
Systolic is 130 139 or my diastolic is 80 89
You are in the first stage of hypertension, but there are actions you can take to get your blood pressure under control. Your doctor will speak to you about small changes that can make a big difference and other BP Raisers. In addition, monitoring blood pressure outside of the doctors office is important for BP control.
Systolic is 140 or higher or my diastolic is 90 or higher
Systolic is higher than 180 and/or my diastolic is higher than 120
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About A Blood Pressure Measurement
If you were diagnosed with high blood pressure, your provider may recommend one or more of the following lifestyle changes.
- Exercise regularly. Staying active can help lower your blood pressure and also help manage your weight. Most adults should aim for 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Check with your provider before beginning an exercise program.
- Keep a healthy weight. If you are overweight, losing as little as 5 pounds can lower your blood pressure.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetable, and whole grains. Limit foods high in saturated fat and total fat.
- Reduce salt in your diet. Most adults should have less than 1500 mg of salt per day.
- Limit alcohol use. If you choose to drink, limit yourself to one drink a day if you are a woman two drinks a day if youre a man.
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Wait A Few Minutes: Blood Pressure Readings Lower When Patients Slow Down
- University of Virginia Health System
- According to a new study from a team of nurses headed by Melly Turner, R.N., systolic blood pressure can be an average of 14 points higher when taken immediately after arriving in the exam room and sitting on an examination table rather than sitting in a chair with your back supported and feet flat on the floor.
After rushing to make your appointment, your name is called to be seen by the doctor. You are escorted to a room, where you sit on a table wrapped in crinkly white paper to have your temperature and blood pressure measured. Although a familiar scene, nurses at the University of Virginia Health System have confirmed a major problem with this scenario.
According to a new study from a team of nurses headed by Melly Turner, R.N., systolic blood pressure can be an average of 14 points higher when taken immediately after arriving in the exam room and sitting on an examination table rather than sitting in a chair with your back supported and feet flat on the floor. In fact, all study participants had lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements when seated in a chair versus the exam table.
With a desirable blood pressure reading around 120/80, and the American Heart Associations definition of hypertension as 140/90 or greater on two consecutive tests, a 14-point difference can mean the difference between a clean bill of health and an inaccurate diagnosis.
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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Understanding Your Blood Pressure Reading
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury and is given as 2 numbers:
- systolic pressure the pressure when your heart pushes blood out
- diastolic pressure the pressure when your heart rests between beats
The highest number is always the systolic pressure and it’s always given first. For example, a blood pressure given as “120 over 80” or 120/80mmHg means a systolic pressure of 120mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 80mmHg.
As a general guide:
- normal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
- high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher
- low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower
If your reading is between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg, you may be at risk of developing high blood pressure. There are things you can do to help prevent high blood pressure.
What Are The Different Styles Of Cuffs
- D-Ring Cuff: A d-ring cuff is a standard type of blood pressure cuff that you would usually see in your doctors office. It is a cuff where the user loops one end of the cuff through a metal ring, then fastens it to the arm. D-ring cuffs come in different sizes of small, standard and large. It is important to pick out the right size cuff based on your individual arm circumference. Please see the questions in this Omron FAQ regarding the different types of cuffs and how to measure your arm circumference.
- Expandable Cuff: The Omron ComFit Cuff is a pre-formed upper arm cuff that expands to fit both regular and large sized arms . It is designed to ensure more comfortable, accurate readings.
- Wrist Cuff: A wrist cuff is similar to an upper arm cuff however you can wrap it around your wrist instead of your upper arm.
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Where Can I Get My Blood Pressure Checked
You can get your blood pressure measured
- By a health care team member at a doctors office.
- At a pharmacy that has a digital blood pressure measurement machine.
- With a home blood pressure monitor that you can use yourself.
Take this form pdf icon with you on your first blood pressure visit to record important blood pressure-related information.
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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Is Checking Your Blood Pressure Two To Three Times Too Often
Checking your blood pressure two to three times is not too often and recommended by the American College of Cardiology. They recommend taking at least two readings, one minute apart in the morning before taking medications and in the evening before dinner.
This is the general recommendation but depending on your condition, your physician may prefer something else. Always follow the recommendation of your doctor as every patients situation may differ 2.
Measuring your blood pressure all day long or more than recommended by the physician is unnecessary. Your pressure will fluctuate throughout the day, and the readings are going to differ. It doesnt make any sense and is counterproductive. Doing so can also play on your mind and cause undesired stress. Do yourself a favor and take it when youre supposed to.
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Complications Of High Blood Pressure
Untreated or poorly managed high blood pressure can cause serious and even life threatening issues. It can damage your blood vessels as well as your organs. The longer your hypertension goes untreated, the more it can damage your body and affect your health.
Potential complications of high blood pressure include:
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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.
This test only takes about one minute to complete.
Are Digital Blood Pressure Monitors Accurate
All Omron blood pressure monitors are clinically proven accurate. They are clinically validated to be within the following:
- Blood pressure: within +/- 3 mgHg or 2 percent
- Pulse: within +/- 5 percent of reading.
This meets or exceeds the AAMI standards. To understand the accuracy levels of other manufacturers blood pressure monitors, you need to contact them. It is always important to investigate accuracy and ease of use before purchasing a home blood pressure monitor.
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Can I Take A Blood Pressure Reading Measurement During Exercise
Omron blood pressure monitors are NOT intended for use during exercise or activity. We recommend that you avoid eating, drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages, smoking, bathing and exercising for at least 30 minutes before taking a measurement. It is also best to rest for 15 minutes before starting the measurement.
What Is The Advantage Of Having Wireless Bluetooth Convenience
Wireless Bluetooth Convenience allows you to sync your blood pressure monitor to the free OMRON Connect app where you can store, track and share your heart health information on your smartphone, and even share it with your loved ones or doctor. The app is available for download on a variety of iOS® or Android® devices. To learn if your mobile device is compatible, visit OmronHealthcare.com/connect). And if you have Amazon® Alexa®-enabled devices, youll also want to try the Omron Health skill to help manage your heart health. Once connected, simply ask Alexa!
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