How Can I Control My Blood Pressure
You can often lower your blood pressure by changing your day-to-day habits and by taking medication if needed. Treatment, especially if you have other medical conditions such as diabetes, requires ongoing evaluation and discussions with your doctor.
Lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent and lower high blood pressure:
In addition to recommending lifestyle changes, your doctor will likely prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure to a safe level. Isolated systolic hypertension, the most common form of high blood pressure in older adults, is treated in the same way as regular high blood pressure but may require more than one type of blood pressure medication. You may try several kinds or combinations of medications before finding a plan that works best for you. Medication can control your blood pressure, but it can’t cure it. If your doctor starts you on medication for high blood pressure, you may need to take it long-term.
Variations In Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure changes to meet your bodys needs. If a reading is high, your doctor may measure your blood pressure again on several separate occasions to confirm the level.
Your doctor may also recommend that you measure your blood pressure at home or have a 24-hour recording with a monitoring device.
Should You Monitor Your Blood Pressure At Home
The American Heart Association and other organizations recommend that anyone with high blood pressure monitor his or her blood pressure at home. Home monitoring can help you keep tabs on your blood pressure in a familiar setting, make certain your medication is working, and alert you and your doctor to potential health complications.
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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.
How To Decrease Blood Pressure Without Meds
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The Best Time To Take Blood Pressure Medication
The typical advice for when to take your high blood pressure medication has been to take it in the morning. However, there’s growing evidence that most blood pressure drugs are more effective when people take them at night.
This is largely due to a concept called chronotherapy. It is an approach to the timing of medical treatment based on circadian rhythm, the body’s natural cycle of physical changes that take place every 24 hours. The approach has been used to find the best times of day to treat other medical conditions, including sleep apnea, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes.This article explains how many types of blood pressure drugs work. It looks at how blood pressure naturally tends to rise and fall, and how the best time to take your medication may be influenced by chronotherapy principles.
Where Can I Get A Monitor To Measure My Blood Pressure At Home
You can buy them at pharmacies, medical supply stores, and online. Some insurance companies will pay for it. Medicare does not. Call your insurance company to find out what your plan offers. Flexible spending accounts often can be used to buy a monitor.
Be sure to buy an accurate monitor. Here are two websites for finding accurate monitors:
Your doctor or pharmacist can also help you choose a monitor with a cuff that fits correctly around your arm. They can also teach you how to use it.
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At Your Healthcare Provider’s Office
Some people have their blood pressure checked by a healthcare provider on a regular basis. There’s a good chance that these appointments are scheduled at different times of the day.
There’s also a good reason for that. A healthcare provider will do this on purpose to get a range of readings. These multiple readings are then averaged together into one overall result. It is used to give a diagnosis, according to standard guidelines on blood pressure.
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.
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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.
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.
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How Blood Pressure Is Measured
It is best to measure blood pressure when you are relaxed and sitting. Blood pressure is usually measured by wrapping an inflatable pressure cuff around your upper arm.
Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers, such as 120/80. The larger number indicates the pressure in the arteries as the heart pumps out blood during each beat. This is called the systolic blood pressure.
The lower number indicates the pressure as the heart relaxes before the next beat. This is called the diastolic blood pressure. Both are measured in units called millimetres of mercury .
Hypertension: When Should You Check Your Blood Pressure
Dr. Gaurangi Shah explains, “It is advised that children should get blood pressure checked at least once a year while once a month is the recommendation for adults. Those consuming antihypertensive medicine can check their blood pressure once a week. But those who have just started blood pressure medicine or have been diagnosed with pre-hypertension should check their BP more frequently that is twice a day for 1 to 3 months or till blood pressure is completely under control.”
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What is the best time to check blood pressure?
Dr. Shah suggests that during the initial stage, those with high blood pressure should check blood pressure twice a day that is-
1. Immediately after waking up
2. In the evening
At what age one can experience hypertension?
1. If it is hereditary, it usually develops between 40-60 years of age
2. Non-hereditary cases can develop before 40 years or after 60 years of age. If someone develops hypertension during this period, one needs to go to endocrinologist or cardiologist to find the exact reason for high blood pressure, followed by necessary precautions to control the condition.
“At any age and at any given time, your blood pressure should be equal to 120/80 mmHg. If there is any major fluctuation, talk to your doctor immediately,” Dr. Shah concludes.
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Where Are The Areas In The Lower Extremities The Blood Pressure Can Be Taken
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Factors That Can Affect Your Readings
There are a few general rules to be aware of when it comes to timing your blood pressure reading.
For example, its not a good idea to take your blood pressure immediately after you wake up, as this will give your lowest reading. Instead, aim to check it when youve been up for about half an hour.
Its also best not to wait until after breakfast and your morning coffee since both food and caffeine can raise your blood pressure. Ideally, a morning blood pressure can be taken after you brush your teeth, shower, and get dressed but before you eat or leave for work.
Food and caffeine arent the only things that can cause your blood pressure to spike. There are several other everyday things that can make your blood pressure rise.
No matter what time of day you take your blood pressure, its best to avoid these things for at least half an hour before you take a reading:
- smoking or using tobacco
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How Do I Take My Bp
You can take your BP at home with a digital BP monitor. Read the instructions that came with your BP monitor. The monitor comes with an adjustable cuff. Ask your healthcare provider if your cuff is the correct size.
- Do not eat, drink, smoke, or exercise for 30 minutes before you take your BP.
- Rest quietly for 5 minutes before you take your BP.
- Sit with your feet flat on the floor and your back against a chair.
- Extend your arm and support it on a flat surface. Your arm should be at the same level as your heart.
- Make sure all of the air is out of the cuff. Place the BP cuff against your bare skin about 1 inch above your elbow. Wrap the cuff snugly around your arm. The BP reading may not be correct if the cuff is too loose.
- If you are using a wrist cuff, wrap the cuff snugly around your wrist. Hold your wrist at the same level as your heart.
- Turn on the BP monitor and follow the directions.
- Write down your BP, the date, the time, and which arm you used to take the BP. Take your BP 2 times and write down both readings. Use the same arm each time. These BP readings can be 1 minute apart.
Follow The Other Parts Of Your High Blood Pressure Treatment Plan
When it comes to treating high blood pressure, it’s likely that you and your doctor have talked about steps in addition to taking medication. These steps can help make your medicine work even better to control blood pressure. Here are some of the other steps that might be part of your plan:
- Eat a diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat meat and dairy foods.
- Watch how much sodium you eat in your diet. Most of the sodium you eat comes from packaged or processed foods.
- Watch how much alcohol you drink. Ask your doctor about an appropriate amount.
- Don’t use cigarettes or other tobacco products.
- Get as close as you can to a healthy weight. Your doctor can help you determine an appropriate goal.
- Get regular physical activity. Try for 150 minutes of moderate activity a week.
- Learn ways to relieve stress, such as relaxation techniques.
For each of these steps, your doctor can give you more information and get you started. Or your doctor may refer you to other health professionals who can help. Some health centers even offer free or inexpensive classes in these areas.
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Checking Blood Pressure At Home Pays Off
- By Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Do-it-yourselfers, take heart. Heres something else to do at home that can have a substantial benefit on your health: measure your blood pressure. Its easy, inexpensive, and helps control blood pressure better than visits to the doctor.
The latest evidence for the benefits of home blood pressure monitoring comes from researchers in Minnesota. They studied 450 people with hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure. All had blood pressures higher than deemed healthyabove 140/90, or above 130/80mmHg if they had diabetes or kidney disease.
About half of the volunteers were given home blood pressure monitors capable of electronically sending readings to a secure website. After being shown how to use their monitors, the volunteers were asked to send six readings each week. That information was assessed by pharmacists, who could adjust medications if needed and offer advice on lifestyle changes that could improve blood pressure. The other volunteers received usual care from their primary care providers.
Welcome To Our Home Monitoring Resource Hub
Here you can find resources for home monitoring, see our simple steps to get an accurate reading and make the most out of home monitoring.
Plus, read more about .
The first step to managing your blood pressure is to Know Your Numbers! Watch our video to see how to measure your blood pressure at home and use our tips and resources below to check your own blood pressure at home.
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What Happens At A Blood Pressure Screening Test
A blood pressure test only takes a matter of minutes and your doctor can easily carry it out.
To do this, theyll use a blood pressure monitor. These can either be manual or electronic.
A blood pressure monitor features a cuff, which they will place around your upper arm. This then inflates, making it tighten around your arm.
Once the cuff has tightened around your arm, the doctor or nurse will let the air out of the cuff gradually. This doesnt take long at all.