How Blood Pressure Is Tested
A device called a sphygmomanometer will be used to measure your blood pressure.
This usually consists of a stethoscope, arm cuff, pump and dial, although automatic devices that use sensors and have a digital display are also commonly used nowadays.
It’s best to sit down with your back supported and legs uncrossed for 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, such as with a cushion or arm of a chair
- 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 while a stethoscope is used to listen to your pulse
- 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.
What Else Do I Need To Know
- Do not take a BP reading in an arm that is injured or has an IV or shunt.
- Take your BP medicines as directed. Do not stop taking your medicines if your BP is at your goal. A BP at your goal means your medicine is working correctly.
- Bring the BP machine to your follow-up visit. Your healthcare provider can check that you are using it correctly.
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.
Don’t Miss: Is Claritin Safe For High Blood Pressure
Why Is Blood Pressure Screening Important
As weve already mentioned, high blood pressure is a common condition for people all over America. This can have serious implications for your health if left untreated.
Your blood pressure measures how hard your blood pushes its way through the body. Specifically, it looks at how hard the blood pushes against your artery walls as it travels.
If your blood pressure is normal then this wont put any strain on your arteries. However, high blood pressure can put a lot of strain on your body and this can be very dangerous. High blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, can lead to any of the following:
- heart disease
- vascular dementia
- aortic aneurysms
Having low blood pressure can also have an effect on your health although this is often less dangerous than high blood pressure. Having low blood pressure can make you feel dizzy or even lead to fainting. This can be dangerous as fainting could lead to more serious injuries, such as head injuries.
Fortunately, its possible to treat high or low blood pressure easily if you catch them early. You can do this in a number of ways, such as using medication or by changing your diet!
But if you dont know about your condition theres very little you can do about it. Thats why getting a regular blood pressure check can make all the difference to your long-term health.
Whats A Normal Blood Pressure
For most patients, a normal blood pressure reading is less than 120 for systolic and less than 80 for diastolic .
At the doctors office, a systolic measurement of 120 to 139 and a diastolic of 80 to 89 are considered prehypertension for most patients. Anything above 140/90 is considered hypertension.
Away from the doctors office, a reading above 135/85 is considered to be high often, people are more relaxed during readings that dont occur at the doctors office.
Aside from white coat hypertension, other factors can cause your blood pressure to read higher at the doctors office. When a patient has to use the restroom, his/her blood pressure can increase slightly. Likewise, if a patient has to walk up a flight of stairs to reach the doctors office or is frustrated by a long wait to see the physician, his/her blood pressure may increase.
Consider monitoring your blood pressure at home if youre concerned that your regular check-ups dont provide an accurate view of your blood pressure.
If your at-home readings are higher than your target range, request an appointment with your doctor to make sure youre measuring correctly at home, and to rule out another health condition.
Don’t Miss: Does Claritin D Raise Blood Pressure
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.
Salt Intake And High Blood Pressure
Reducing the amount of salt you eat can also help to manage or even avoid high blood pressure. To help reduce your salt intake:
- Ensure your diet consists of wholefoods including vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, lean meat and poultry, fish and seafood, legumes, unsalted nuts and seeds.
- Avoid packaged and processed foods that are high in salt. You cant see the salt in these foods, so you dont know how much salt you are having. Get into the habit of checking food labels.
- Choose low-salt food where possible. If you cant find low-salt products, those with moderate amounts of salt are ok too. Another simple alternative is to look for labels with low salt, salt reduced or no added salt.
- Avoid adding salt to cooking or at the table flavour meals with herbs and spices instead.
You May Like: Does Claritin D Raise Blood Pressure
Medications For High Blood Pressure
There is a large variety of medicines available to lower and manage high blood pressure. Your doctor may call them antihypertensives, .
These medications do not cure high blood pressure, but they do help manage it. Once you start to take medicines to manage your blood pressure, you may need to take them for the rest of your life. However, the dose of these medicines may change over time.
If you need to take medication, your doctor will advise you on the correct type and dose. Two or more different medications are often needed to manage blood pressure.
Make sure you take your medicines regularly. Some things that may help you remember to take them include:
- Building them into your daily routine by taking them at the same time each day.
- Keeping them somewhere that will remind you such as next to your alarm, or with your coffee or tea.
- Using a weekly pill box.
- Asking a family member or friend to remind you.
- Always carrying a list of your medicines and their doses with you.
- Entering a daily alarm in your mobile phone or download an app to remind you.
Take any blood pressure medicine exactly as prescribed. Dont stop or change your medicine, unless your doctor advises you to.
Get Regular Blood Pressure Checks
If your blood pressure is in the healthy range and you have no other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and no personal or family history of high blood pressure, it is still important to have a check at least every two years. Your doctor can also check your blood pressure during routine visits.
If your blood pressure is highnormal , or if you have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as a personal or family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack, it is best to have it checked more frequently such as every 6 to 12 months or as directed by your doctor. Ask your doctor for advice.
Read Also: Does Claritin Lower Blood Pressure
Welch Allyn 1700 Series
2 year warranty. Welch Allyn will warranty your monitor to be free of defects, material and workmanship and to perform in accordance with manufacturer specifications for the 2 year period from the date of purchase. The warranty does not cover damage by accidents, shipping, maintenance against the instructions or repair by anyone not authorized by Welch Allyn.
The following is not covered:
- Shipping cost to return the device.
Before You Measure Your Blood Pressure
- Avoid things that can raise your blood pressure in the short term. Dont measure your blood pressure within half an hour of eating, smoking, drinking caffeinated drinks such as coffee, or exercising. These can all raise your blood pressure temporarily. If you need to use the toilet, go before you measure your blood pressure.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes. Wear a short-sleeved t-shirt or something with sleeves you can push up easily, nothing tight. This is so that you can fit the cuff around your arm.
- Rest for five minutes before you take your reading. Sit down somewhere quiet, ideally at a desk or table. Have your back supported with your arm resting on a firm surface and your feet flat on the floor. Stay in this position while you take your blood pressure.
- Make sure your arm is supported and at the same level as your heart. Position yourself so that your arm is resting on a surface and is at the same height as your heart. Keep your arm and hand relaxed, not tensed.
- Make sure you are relaxed and comfortable. If you are anxious or uncomfortable, your blood pressure will rise temporarily.
Also Check: What Is A Dangerously High Blood Pressure
How Is Blood Pressure Measured
It’s important to measure blood pressure more than once because it fluctuates over the course of the day. It can also change due to things like physical exertion, stress, pain, or extreme heat or cold. But this kind of increase in blood pressure is only temporary and it soon returns to normal.
So, if blood pressure is measured just once and found to be high, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s always too high. A blood pressure reading taken at the doctors office can also be misleading: Going to the doctor makes some people so nervous that their blood pressure goes up.
So to get reliable readings, blood pressure is measured on several different days and while you are resting. This means sitting down and relaxing on a chair, and waiting about three minutes before taking a measurement so that your circulatory system comes to rest. The upper arm that is being used for the measurement should rest on a table, at about the same height as the heart, while the reading is being done.
You can measure your blood pressure on your own using a digital blood pressure monitor for automated readings or an instrument called a sphygmomanometer for manual readings.
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.
How To Take Blood Sample At Home
In 2014, high blood pressure was. Inaccurate blood pressure readings could put people at risk for inappropriate treatment. You’re part of a growing group. The american heart association has resources for people in different stages of their blood pressure management journey left undetected or uncontrolled over time, high blood pressure can have serious health consequences, including heart atta. No matter where you gomountain or valley, timb.
Can You Take Blood Pressure Manually On Yourself
The easiest way to take your own blood pressure is to purchase an automated cuff. Automatic blood pressure machines are the easiest to use, and theyre helpful if you have any hearing impairments. These types of blood pressure cuffs have a digital monitor that will display your blood pressure reading on a screen.
Recommended Reading: How To Calibrate Blood Pressure Monitor Omron
What Affects A Blood Pressure Reading
Many things can affect a blood pressure reading, including:
- Nervousness about having your blood pressure taken. This is called white coat syndrome. As many as 1 in 3 people who have a high blood pressure reading at the doctors office may have normal blood pressure readings outside of it.1
- What you ate, drank, or did before your reading. If you smoked, drank alcohol or caffeine, or exercised within 30 minutes of having your blood pressure measured, your reading might be higher.2
- How you are sitting. Crossing your legs and letting your arm droop at your side rather than rest on a table at chest height can make your blood pressure go up.2
Its important to get an accurate blood pressure reading so that you have a clearer picture of your risk for heart disease and stroke.
A reading that says your blood pressure is lower than it actually is may give you a false sense of security about your health. A reading that says your blood pressure is higher than it actually is may lead to treatment you dont need.
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.
You May Like: Claritan And 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.
Causes Of False Blood Pressure Readings
False blood pressure readings can make you feel your device is not up to par and causes you to want to replace your blood pressure monitor. I once knew someone who swore their monitor, which was only 1 year old, was defective.
They wasted a lot of time on the phone and sending their device back to the manufacturer, only to find out there was nothing wrong with their monitor.
What was wrong, was how that person was taking their blood pressure which was resulting in false readings. The things mentioned below are crucial for achieving accurate readings and keeping your blood pressure goals on the right track .
The following are possible reasons why you may get a false blood pressure reading:
- A cuff wrapped too tight or loose around the arm.
- A cuff that is too big or too small.
- Putting the cuff in the wrong location on your arm.
- Placing the cuff around clothing and not on your bare skin.
- Having your body in the wrong position when taking your pressure.
- Failure to average 2-3 readings and relying on one measurement only.
- Using a monitor that is inaccurate.
In addition, the following are mistakes many people make when taking their blood pressure . These mistakes are not false readings. They are things you should not be doing that gives you a pressure reading that doesnt accurately reflect your BP throughout the day.
If you found this Blood Pressure topic interesting check out these related blood pressure articles also found in this same website:
Recommended Reading: Blood Pressure Changes During Exercise