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How Long Should You Wait Between Blood Pressure Readings

Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure To Look Out For

Should you take multiple Blood Pressure readings? How many BP readings are required?

Going for a regular high blood pressure test is a good way to stay on top of your bodys health. However, you can back this up by keeping an eye out for symptoms of high blood pressure between tests.

These include:

  • blood in your urine
  • a pounding noise in your chest, neck or ears.

If you experience any of these symptoms, its a good idea to go for a blood pressure screening as soon as possible. This will make sure you can get on top of it before it causes any serious damage!

Blood Pressure Assessment Tips

Keep learning about blood pressure assessment by reading how to mitigate NIBP and auscultating innacuracies by watching the plethysmography waveform on your pulse oximeter and noting the mean arterial pressure.

Read next: Learn how to read a MAP.


1. James PA, Oparil S, Carter BL, et al. 2014 Evidence-Based Guideline for the Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults: Report From the Panel Members Appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee . JAMA. 2014 311:507-520.

2. Pickering TG, Hall JE, Appel LJ, et al. AHA Scientific Statement: Recommendations for blood pressure measurement in humans and experimental animals, part 1: blood pressure measurement in humans. Hypertension. 2005 45: 142-161.

3. Deakin CD, Low JL. Accuracy of the advanced trauma life support guidelines for predicting systolic blood pressure using carotid, femoral, and radial pulses: observational study. BMJ. 2000 321: 673674.

4. Lehman LH, Saeed M, Talmor D, Mark R, Malhotra A. Methods of blood pressure measurement in the ICU. Crit Care Med. 2013 41:34-40.

This article, originally posted Apr. 9, 2014, has been updated.

Fill out the form below to download a guide to reading blood pressure.

One sheet: Common blood pressure reading mistakes

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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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.

Taking Multiple Blood Pressure Readings In A Row

Blood Pressure Heart Stroke Foundation South Africa

Many people monitoring their blood pressure at home take one reading and puts the machine away. Others, will take multiple readings in a row and obtain different results. I get asked this question many times and want to give you the answer to the question. Can I take multiple blood pressure readings in a row?

You can take multiple blood pressure readings in a row. The American Heart Association recommends taking 2-3 measurements about one minute apart. Two to three readings will minimize random errors and provide more accuracy for estimation of blood pressure.

Keep reading, and Ill explain to you in complete detail how to perform this sequence as accurately as possible. Its crucial to monitor and record accurate readings for your blood pressure maintenance and program. Inaccurate measurements can play tricks on your mind and make it more difficult on your doctors diagnosis and treatment.

BP Tip: Did you know you can lower BP naturally by changing how you breathe a few times a day? Theres a device approved by the FDA and The American Heart Association gave it the thumbs up. It simply guides your breathing for you a few minutes a day which has been proven to lower blood pressure. You can check it out in the manufacturers website by .

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Blood Pressure Cuff Placement

Most blood pressure reading errors are the result of improper sizing of the blood pressure cuff or placing the cuff over clothing. Improper placement of the cuff over clothing can cause your blood pressure measurement to increase by 10 to 50 points. If the cuff is too small, it can add 2 to 10 points to your bp measurement. Be sure to roll up your sleeve for a blood pressure test and also let your doctor know if the cuff feels too tight around your arm.

Taking Your Blood Pressure

If you have a manual or digital blood pressure monitor, follow the instruction booklet carefully. The following steps provide an overview of how to take your blood pressure using either a manual or digital blood pressure monitor.

1. Locate your pulse

Locate your pulse by lightly pressing your index and middle fingers slightly to the inside center of the bend of the elbow. Here you can feel the pulse of the brachial artery. If you cannot locate a pulse, place the head of the stethoscope or the arm cuff in the same general area.

2. Secure the cuff

A. Thread the cuff end through the metal loop and slide the cuff onto your arm, making sure that the stethoscope head is over the artery. The lower edge of the cuff should be about 1 inch above the bend of your elbow. Use the Velcro wrap to make the cuff snug, but not too tight.

B. Place the stethoscope in your ears. Tilt the earpiece slightly forward to get the best sound.

3. Inflate and deflate the cuff

If you are using a manual monitor:

A. Hold the pressure gauge in your left hand and the bulb in your right.

B. Close the airflow valve on the bulb by turning the screw clockwise.

C. Inflate the cuff by squeezing the bulb with your right hand. You may hear your pulse in the stethoscope.

D. Watch the gauge. Keep inflating the cuff until the gauge reads about 30 points above your expected systolic pressure. At this point, you should not hear your pulse in the stethoscope.

G. Continue to slowly deflate the cuff.

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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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Tips For Taking Your Blood Pressure At Home

High Blood Pressure? A UK Doctor’s View – Home Monitoring Is Better! – FREE Home BP Sheet

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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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.

Factors That Can Exaggerate Blood Pressure Readings

When you go to the doctors office, blood pressure measurement is one of the ways doctors can check up on your heart health. The only way to diagnose high blood pressure, known as hypertension, is by a blood pressure test. Blood pressure readings are typically taken at the start of your doctors appointment.

A healthy blood pressure reading is anywhere between 90/60 and 120/80. To understand your blood pressure reading, you need to know the difference between diastolic and systolic blood pressure. The first number is the systolic blood pressure which measures how much pressure your blood is exerting against the artery walls when your heart is beating. The second number is the diastolic blood pressure which indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.

Anything 140/90 or above is considered a high blood pressure reading, which could be a diagnosis of hypertension. Hypertension is one of the leading causes of heart disease that can lead to heart attacks, kidney failure, stroke, and even dementia. If your blood pressure measures below 90/60, that could be an indicator of hypotension, or low blood pressure, which can result in dizziness, fainting, and long-term damage to the heart and brain.

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American Heart Association News Stories

American Heart Association News covers heart disease, stroke and related health issues. Not all views expressed in American Heart Association News stories reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Statements, conclusions, accuracy and reliability of studies published in American Heart Association scientific journals or presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the American Heart Associations official guidance, policies or positions.

Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. Permission is granted, at no cost and without need for further request, for individuals, media outlets, and non-commercial education and awareness efforts to link to, quote, excerpt or reprint from these stories in any medium as long as no text is altered and proper attribution is made to American Heart Association News.

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What Causes Blood Pressure To Spike

High Blood Pressure Healthcare Stat

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Managing Your Blood Pressure

Monitoring is only one part of managing hypertension. Your doctor will use your results to help you come up with a treatment plan. Although there is no cure for hypertension, treatment can keep blood pressure low and avoid complications of hypertension like heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, loss of vision and sexual dysfunction.

Treatment may start with lifestyle changes. These changes may reduce or delay high blood pressure. They include:

  • A heart-healthy diet

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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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