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.
The Need For Home Monitoring
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in 3 adults in the United States has high blood pressure, and half of them dont have it under control. High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death in the United States.
Even though the American Heart Association and other organizations have called for greater use of home blood pressure monitoring, it isnt yet widespread. One reason is that insurance coverage for such programs still lags. Another is that full-fledged efforts like the one in Minnesota could cost $1,350 per person.
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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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.
How Do I Know If My Monitor Is Accurate Or If I Am Using It Correctly
Once you buy your device, have your doctor check it for accuracy. They should check your monitor once a year. On your own, periodically check the tubing for cracks and leaks. Proper care and storage are necessary. Make sure the tubing is not twisted when you store it. Keep it away from heat.
Ask your doctor or nurse to teach you how to use your blood pressure monitor correctly. This will help you achieve good results in controlling your blood pressure.
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What Is High Blood Pressure
Your heart pumps blood all around your body. Blood pressure is a measure of how strongly the blood presses against the walls ofyourarteries. If this pressure is too high it puts a strain on your arteries and your heart. If its not controlled it can increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
A diagnosis of high blood pressure means that your blood pressure stays high over a long period. The medical term for this is hypertension.
Your blood pressure can go up and down over the course of a day, such as during exercise or sleep. These short-term changes are not likely to cause stroke. But when your blood pressure stays high over a long period of time, this leads to damage to the blood vessels and can eventually cause a stroke.
High blood pressure is a common problem. There are 9.5 million people with a diagnosis in the UK. And for every 10 people diagnosed with high blood pressure, another seven dont know they have it. That is more than 5.5 million people living with untreated high blood pressure in England alone. It usually has no symptoms so having it measured is the only way to tell if your blood pressure is high.
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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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?
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How Often You Should Replace Your Blood Pressure Monitor
Since the new blood pressure guidelines were released, more and more medical experts are recommending to measure your blood pressure at home. If you are using a home monitor I give you a high five. Monitoring your blood pressure at home has so many benefits . To make the most of those benefits, the accuracy of your monitor is extremely important and knowing when to replace your monitor is crucial.
How often should you replace your blood pressure monitor? You should replace your home blood pressure monitor when its no longer accurate. The accuracy can be checked at your physicians office. While some people have been using their machines for 10-12 years, the company warranty typically is 2-3 years.
This article will inform you how to make sure your monitor is and stays accurate. In addition, Ill let you know how to get your home monitor calibrated when its no longer accurate or if you should buy a new machine.
Every new blood pressure monitor comes with a warranty, Ill inform you how long they are and typically whats covered. Its also possible youre getting false blood pressure readings with an accurate monitor, preventing these mistakes can save you many headaches and frustrations.
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.
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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.
Check Your Blood Pressure Numbers At Home
Checking your blood pressure at home will help your nurse or doctor or nurse know if your numbers are normal or high. Ask your doctor or nurse to help you find the correct size home blood pressure cuff and quality monitor. Do not use finger or wrist monitors.
- Eat a healthy diet and eat less salt . Learn more about how to eat less salt.
You have the power to make changes to improve your health.
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The Shoulds Of Properly Taking Your High Blood Pressure Drugs
Why is it so important to take your high blood pressure drugs properly? It’s not just to make your doctor happy or to make your life more complicated. Taking high blood pressure medicine properly provides you the best results, lowering your blood pressure to a healthier level. You should take high blood pressure medicine properly because:
- That’s how your doctor can tell whether the medicine is working to lower your blood pressure.
- Taking medicine at the wrong doses or times or stopping high blood pressure medicine suddenly can be downright dangerous to your health.
- If your blood pressure remains too high, you’re more likely to develop other serious problems such as heart attacks, stroke, or kidney disease.
The good news is that taking high blood pressure medicine properly helps ensure better health for yourself now and in the future.
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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Treating High Blood Pressure
Fortunately, treating high blood pressure is relatively easy. And the earlier to catch it the more likely you are to reverse the effects of it.
The type of treatment your doctor prescribes depends on a couple of things including how high your blood pressure is and what is causing it.
For example, if your diet and lifestyle are causing your high blood pressure you may be able to remedy this by making changes to these. If you have a family history of high blood pressure a doctor may prescribe medication to help lower this.
In some cases, your doctor will prescribe a combination of treatments to lower your blood pressure.
Having A Blood Pressure Test
A stethoscope, arm cuff, pump and dial was normally used to measure your blood pressure, but automatic devices with sensors and digital displays are commonly used nowadays.
It’s best to sit down with your back supported and legs uncrossed for at least 5 minutes before the test.
You’ll usually need to roll up your sleeves or remove any long-sleeved clothing so the cuff can be placed around your upper arm.
Try to relax and avoid talking while the test is carried out.
During the test:
- you hold out one of your arms so it’s at the same level as your heart, and the cuff is placed around it your arm should be supported in this position with a cushion or the arm of a chair, for example
- the cuff is pumped up to restrict the blood flow in your arm this squeezing may feel a bit uncomfortable, but only lasts a few seconds
- the pressure in the cuff is slowly released and detectors sense vibrations in your arteries a doctor will use a stethoscope to detect these if your blood pressure is measured manually
- the pressure in the cuff is recorded at 2 points as the blood flow starts to return to your arm these measurements are used to give your blood pressure reading
You can usually find out your result straight away, either from the healthcare professional carrying out the test or on the digital display.
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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.
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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Home Blood Pressure Monitor Warranty Periods
Every new home monitor comes with a warranty. Having a decent warranty and registering your product will lessen the number of times you should replace your blood pressure monitor. The following are the basic warranties offered from the monitor I recommend.
The major difference between all three of them is Welch Allyn covers calibration . Greater Goods does not state that and Omron states calibration is not covered. This is one of the reasons why I have this Welch Allyn Monitor myself and pick it above the three.