Choosing Times That Work For You
The best times of day to take your blood pressure depend on you and your daily routine. Its important to pick times that you can stick to every day.
Taking your blood pressure at the same time each day is key to understanding your blood pressure. It can help make sure that the readings you take arent affected by the events of your day.
You can select times when you know youll be home and are unlikely to be interrupted. For example, you could check your blood pressure before you leave for work, when you get home from work, and before bed.
How Can You Measure Your Blood Pressure At Home
Home blood pressure monitors are widely available and relatively inexpensive.
Dr Brewer said: Those that measure blood pressure using a cuff on your upper arm provide the most accurate results.
Select a blood pressure monitor that has been tested and validated according to standards set by the British Hypertension Society , European Society of Hypertension or the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation to ensure it is clinically accurate and give reliable, trustworthy results.
Monitors need to be re-checked and, if necessary, recalibrated at least every 2 years for continuing accuracy check instructions within the packaging.
All Dr Brewer’s advice can be found on her website Mylowerbloodpressure.com.
Health & Wellnessuncontrolled High Blood Pressure In Us Is Getting Worse Study Finds
Both the AHA and the American Medical Association last year urged widespread home monitoring as a convenient and more superior way of knowing those numbers because it can prevent “white coat hypertension” a common phenomenon where a persons blood pressure spikes the moment he or she enters a doctors office.
Validated over-the-counter home blood pressure monitors are accurate, easy to use and dont have to cost a lot of money.
Its most important for people at any age with chronic health conditions such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure to regularly check their numbers at home between doctors appointments, Levine said.
Younger people who are healthy can benefit, too. She suggested starting to periodically monitor blood pressure at home at age 35.
Don’t Miss: What Causes Your Blood Pressure To Be High
How Can I Measure My Blood Pressure At Home
Talk with your health care team about regularly measuring your blood pressure at home, also called self-measured blood pressure monitoring.
SMBP means you regularly use a personal blood pressure measurement device away from a doctors office or hospitalusually at home. These blood pressure monitors are easy and safe to use. A health care team member can show you how to use one if you need help.
Evidence shows that people with high blood pressure are more likely to lower their blood pressure if they use SMBP combined with support from their health care team than if they dont use SMBP.3
Use these additional tips for SMBP:4
- Use a blood pressure log pdf icon to record your blood pressure measurements.
- Take your blood pressure at the same time every day.
- Take at least two readings, 1 or 2 minutes apart.
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 organism’s 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.
You May Like: Does Claritin D Raise Blood Pressure
What Else You Can Doand Warning Signs To Know
If your readings remain high after a few months, your doctor will likely recommend dietary and exercise changes, Dr. Haythe says. If that doesnt work, youll probably be put on medication and asked to continue to monitor your blood pressure regularly.
I advise people diagnosed with hypertension to check their blood pressure twice per day until they have it under control, she says. After that, its fine to check it one to two times per week.
If your blood pressure is abnormally high or low when youre checking it at home, dont panic. It could just be your machine, says Susan Besser, M.D., a primary care physician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. When in doubt , .
Go to the ER right away if a higher reading is accompanied by headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, or chest pain, or if your monitor was working fine but is now reading higher than 180/120.
More People Should Be Measuring Their Blood Pressure At Home For Optimal Health
Regularly checking your own blood pressure offers an important glimpse into your health and gives you the chance to keep your heart and brain in good shape.
Yet most older adults who would especially benefit from this habit dont monitor their numbers at home, the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging found. The results, based on a national sample of Americans 50 to 80 years old, were published this month.
About 60% of people in this age group have had to deal with a stroke, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease or hypertension.
Also Check: Are Tomatoes Good For High Blood Pressure
How Often Should I Get My Blood Pressure Checked
How often you should have a check will depend on your blood pressure reading.
As you get older, your blood pressure is likely to creep up and you should get it checked more often than every five years. You should also have checks more often if your blood pressure is over 120/80mmHg. .
If your blood pressure is healthy
If your blood pressure is in the healthy range, between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg, keep having checks at least every five years.
If your blood pressure is slightly raised
If your numbers were between 120/80mmHg and 139/89mmHg last time you had a check, then its best to get your blood pressure checked every year, and at least every five years. High blood pressure is usually diagnosed if your numbers reach 140/90mmHg. You should also start taking steps to .
If you have high blood pressure
If you have a reading which is over 140/90mmHg, you should go to your GP if you had your check elsewhere. High blood pressure is usually diagnosed when your numbers are consistently over 140/90mmHg. Speak to your doctor about how often you should have checks.
You might need to have checks quite often to begin with, perhaps every few weeks, while you get your blood pressure under control. Then less often, perhaps once every six months to a year.
If your reading is very high
You might also find it helpful to using a home monitor.
Are You Taking Your Pressure Too Often Due To Fluctuations
Your pressure can change throughout the day. Sometimes from minute to minute or hour to hour. Slight variations are normal but shouldnt be a concern . Because of these fluctuations, you may take your blood pressure too often. The extra measurements arent necessary.
A common cause of getting different 2 different readings, even minutes apart can be because you didnt prepare properly for the first reading. Something like being as unrelaxed as you should have been for the first reading is very common. By the time you take the 2nd measurement, your body has had a few more minutes to calm down and relax resultingly in a lower number.
Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure To Look Out For
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.
- 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!
How Long You Should Wait Between Blood Pressure Readings
The American College of Cardiology and the new blood pressure guidelines recommend taking at least 2 to 3 readings, 1 minute apart . If you measure your blood pressure 2 times a day, this will equal taking your pressure 4-6 times a day in total. This wouldnt be considered taking your blood pressure too often.
During the 1 minute break between readings, do not do anything that can alter your blood pressure. The things you should avoid before taking your blood pressure, should also be avoided between the 2 or 3 measurements. These activities may include the following:
You May Like: High Blood Pressure And Shaking
Home Monitoring And Blood Pressure Goals
Home blood pressure monitoring can help guide your treatment by showing whether your medicines are working or if you need to take a different approach. A study published in March 2013 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes found that people who monitored their blood pressure at home were more likely to reach their blood pressure goals than those who were monitored only by their doctor.
Anyone who has high blood pressure, or is at risk for it, can benefit from home blood pressure monitoring, especially women with diabetes or kidney disease. You might also want to consider taking your blood pressure at home if your levels tend to fluctuate. Getting an accurate accounting of the variations will help your doctor better treat your blood pressure.
Women with symptoms such as dizziness or headaches can also take regular readings “to see if their symptoms correlate to their blood pressure,” Dr. Zusman says.
Some conditions can make it harder to take your own blood pressureparticularly if you have an irregular heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation. If this is uncontrolled, you may not be able to get an accurate reading with a home blood pressure monitor. Even if your arrhythmia is controlled, you may need to take your blood pressure several times in a row for accuracy.
If you’re interested in home blood pressure monitoring, here’s how to get started.
Getting An Accurate Blood Pressure Reading
To help you get an accurate blood pressure measurement no matter where the screening takes place, use the following tips.Before your reading:
- Go to the bathroom and empty your bladder.
- Dont smoke, drink beverages that have caffeine, or exercise for 30 minutes.
- Sit calmly for at least 5 minutes.
- Push the sleeve of your shirt up so the reading isnt taken over your clothes.
During your reading:
- Sit with your feet flat on the floor. Dont cross your legs.
- Rest your back against a chair, making sure its straight and supported.
- Place your arm on a flat surface, such as an arm rest or table.
- Dont talk while your reading is being measured.
Things to remember when measuring blood pressure at home:
- Choose a blood pressure monitor with a cuff that fits around the upper arm. Wrist and finger monitors are not recommended.
- Measure your blood pressure every day around the same time.
- Take 2 or 3 measurements, one minute apart.
- Record your measurements to share with your healthcare provider.
Questions to consider asking your doctor if you have high blood pressure:
- How often should I monitor my blood pressure?
- What type of home blood pressure monitor should I use?
- What lifestyle changes can I make to help manage my blood pressure?
- Are there any medications I need to take to help lower my blood pressure?
Don’t Miss: How To Calibrate Blood Pressure Monitor Omron
How Often Should I Check My Blood Pressure
A frequent topic of discussion at the pharmacy is blood pressure. What do the numbers mean? How often should I check my blood pressure? What is the best way to check it? How do medications affect it? There are a lot of misconceptions. Lets break down all of these questions and get you started on a healthy blood pressure monitoring plan.
What Is It Used For
A blood pressure measurement is most often used to diagnose high blood pressure.
Blood pressure that’s too low, known as hypotension, is much less common. But you may get tested for low blood pressure if you have certain symptoms. Unlike high blood pressure, low blood pressure usually causes symptoms. These include:
You May Like: Claritin And Hypertension
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 you’re a man.
- Don’t smoke.
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.
Don’t Miss: Heart Attack With Low Blood Pressure
What Does My Blood Pressure Reading Mean
Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or lower. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90, you may have something called prehypertension. This means that you are at risk for high blood pressure.
|High blood pressure: Stage 2||160 or higher||100 or over|
*If you have diabetes or kidney disease, high blood pressure ranges may be lower than for other people. Or, if you are older than 65, goal blood pressure may be higher. Talk to your doctor about what is considered high blood pressure for you.
Advantages Of Home Testing
Research has shown that home blood pressure readings are similar to blood pressure recorded by 24-hour ambulatory monitors .
In addition, home blood pressure readings eliminate the white-coat effect .
Besides routine monitoring for known or suspected high blood pressure, there are other reasons why your doctor may recommend home blood pressure checks. For instance, they may want to check the effectiveness of a current medication or a new low-salt diet change.
They may even use home blood pressure checks to monitor for low blood pressure in certain people or for a condition called masked hypertension .
In the end, though, your doctor will use your home blood pressure readings as an adjuvant to office blood pressure readings, not as a substitute. So be sure to continue seeing your doctor for regular check-ups.
Also Check: What Are The Symptoms For High Blood Pressure
Working With Your Doctor Or Nurse
You wont usually make a decision about treatment based solely on the readings you have taken at home. But they may find it useful to know what youre blood pressure is like when youre away from the clinic.
Talk to your doctor or nurse before you start to measure your blood pressure at home. They advise you on when to measure your blood pressure and how often, and this can help you both to be clear about what you are doing and why.
Bring your records with you to your appointments so they can use it to review your treatment.
Make sure your monitor is suitable and you know how to use it
It is a good idea to bring your monitor to the appointment so that your doctor or nurse can check that it is validated and accurate, that it fits properly, and that you know how to use it. They can show you if youre not sure.
For further information on home monitoring, download our booklet, .
How Can You Tell If You Have High Blood Pressure
People are often shocked to find out they have high blood pressure. Perhaps thinking it only happens to older people or people who are very overweight or unhealthy. Others think there will be signs and symptoms, like headaches or feeling dizzy. In reality, it can happen at any age, and most people dont feel any different.
The only way to know if your blood pressure is healthy is to have a check, and to keep having them regularly.
If you do notice anything unusual, for example blood shot eyes, headaches or generally feeling unwell, its always safest to make an appointment with your GP to see whats going on.
You May Like: Does Claritin D Raise Blood Pressure