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How To Check Blood Pressure At Home

Who Has Or Uses A Blood Pressure Monitor

how to check your blood pressure at home

In all, 74% of the older adults with blood pressure-related conditions said they had a home blood pressure monitor. Adults who owned a blood pressure monitor were much more likely to measure their blood pressure at home than those who did not own a monitor.

But less than half of those with both a blood pressure-related health conditions and a home blood pressure monitor check their blood pressure at least once a week. Nearly one-fifth19%never use the monitor.

Among those who check their blood pressure at home regularly, 50% share the readings with a health provider.

Among those with blood pressure-related health conditions who did not own a home blood pressure monitor, 54% said it was because they didnt need it or had never considered it.

How To Check Your Blood Pressure Manually

To manually take your blood pressure, youll need a blood pressure cuff with a squeezable balloon and an aneroid monitor, also known as a sphygmomanometer, and a stethoscope. An aneroid monitor is a number dial. If possible, enlist the help of a friend or family member, because it can be difficult to use this method on your own.

Here are the steps to taking your blood pressure at home:

  • Before taking your blood pressure, make sure youre relaxed. Position your arm straight, palm facing up on a level surface, such as a table. Youll place the cuff on your bicep and squeeze the balloon to inflate the cuff. Using the numbers on the aneroid monitor, inflate the cuff about 20-30 mm Hg over your normal blood pressure. If you dont know your normal blood pressure, ask your doctor how much you should inflate the cuff.
  • Once the cuff is inflated, place the stethoscope with the flat side down on the inside of your elbow crease, toward the inner part of your arm where the major artery of your arm is located. Be sure to test the stethoscope before using it to make sure you can hear properly. You can do that by tapping on the stethoscope. Its also helpful to have a high-quality stethoscope and to ensure that the ears of the stethoscope are pointed in toward your eardrums.
  • Latest High Blood Pressure News

    If you are over 50 and you have high blood pressure or a health condition for which blood pressure control is essential, at-home blood pressure checks can avert medical emergencies.

    The trouble is that too few of these people actually perform them, a new survey reveals.

    “This poll shows that we have more work to do to encourage older adults with certain chronic health conditions to monitor their blood pressure,” said Alison Bryant, senior vice president of research for AARP. “We know that the risk of high blood pressure increases with age, so this is an important topic for older adults to discuss with a health provider.”

    The National Poll on Healthy Aging from the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation surveyed more than 2,000 adults aged 50 to 80. It found that 60% said they were either taking medication to control their blood pressure or had a chronic health condition that requires blood pressure control, such as a history of stroke, heart disease, heart failure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

    Of those patients, the 74% who said they had a home blood pressure monitor were more likely to check their blood pressure at home than those without a monitor.

    But fewer than half of survey respondents with both a blood pressure-related health condition and a home blood pressure monitor said they checked their blood pressure at least once a week, and 19% said they never used their monitor.

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    How To Check Blood Pressure At Home: Important Steps Before And During

    • For the most accurate reading, take your blood pressure in the morning and in the evening.
    • Take five minutes to get relaxed before you take your blood pressure.
    • Follow our step-by-step guide from Harvard Medical School for how to take your blood pressure for the best results.
    • This article was reviewed by Jason R. McKnight, MD, MS, a family-medicine physician and clinical assistant professor at Texas A& M’s College of Medicine.
    • This story is part of Insider’s guide on High Blood Pressure.

    About one in three US adults have high blood pressure, or hypertension. For these individuals, it’s important to monitor blood pressure closely. Fortunately, it’s easy to take blood pressure without going to the doctor each time.

    Regularly checking your blood pressure at home whether you have high blood pressure or are at a high risk for developing hypertensiuon can help catch any major changes before they become serious. Here’s how to do it.

    In What Other Points Can I Feel The Pulse Of A Person

    Checking Blood Pressure at Home

    In the human body, there are 7 points where you can feel the pulse. Although the most well-known and used with the wrist or the neck, it can also be felt or measured anywhere where an artery passes close to the surface of the skin.

    Use two fingers to apply light pressure on the site and you should be able to feel the pulse. When you find your pulse, count the number of beats for one minute, or count for 30 seconds and multiply by two.

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    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.

    S To Follow To Measure Blood Pressure Without Equipment

    Slide the first two fingers of one hand on the wrist of the opposite hand. With the palm facing up, the radial pulse is below the thumb and slightly above the wrist. Find this site with your fingers.

    Move your fingers delicately until you feel the pulse You can do it in most people. This is when the measurement of blood pressure without equipment comes into play.

    The mere fact that you can feel the radial pulse indicates that the pressure is above 80 mm Hg. The more prominent the pulse, the higher the tension.

    If the pulse is weak, it means that it is closer to the minimum value mentioned.

    Use a tensiometer if you need a more accurate systolic pressure reading or if you need to know the diastolic pressure. Place the cuff of the tensiometer around the brachial artery, this runs along the inside of the arm, it becomes more noticeable on one side of the elbow.

    Place a stethoscope on the brachial artery and then insufflate the tensiometer until you stop feeling the pulse.

    Then, slowly, let the air come out at the rate of 2 millimeters of mercury per second. Pay attention to the meter number where you start to feel the pulse again. This is the systolic value.

    Let the air continue to come out slowly until you feel no pulse from the brachial artery.

    This point marks the diastolic pressure. In children, it will simply sound off.

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    Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring

    In some cases, your doctor may recommend 24-hour or ambulatory blood pressure monitoring .

    This is where your blood pressure is tested automatically around every 30 minutes over a 24-hour period using a cuff attached to a portable device worn on your waist.

    ABPM can help to give a clear picture of how your blood pressure changes over the course of a day.

    You should continue with your normal daily activities during the test, although you must avoid getting the equipment wet.

    Good Blood Pressure Protects Cognition

    How to Check your Blood Pressure at Home

    National clinical guidelines, which are based on medical evidence and aimed at doctors and other providers to help guide their practice, call for regular home blood pressure monitoring for people with conditions such as the ones the poll asked about. But only 62% of poll respondents with these chronic health conditions said that a health provider had ever told them to measure blood pressure at home.

    When the poll team looked further at the responses from this group, they found that adults who were ever told by a health provider to check their blood pressure periodically were more than twice as likely to check blood pressure at home than those who were not told.

    A doctors recommendation was cited as a reason for home monitoring by 51% of poll respondents who had a blood pressure-related condition and checked their blood pressure at home regularly. Other motivations for checking blood pressure at home included the most common response of wanting to be as healthy as possible and the least common response of wanting to prevent a decline in their cognitive ability such as memory and thinking .

    This suggests that providers need to emphasize brain health to patients with blood pressure-related conditions. Monitoring and keeping their blood pressure under control can help the brain, as well as heart and kidney health.

    Support for the work came from the AARP and Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigans academic medical center.

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    What If I Dont Have Equipment

    You dont need a blood pressure cuff to take your resting heart rate, which is another measurement that helps indicate heart health. Digital monitors usually display both blood pressure and heart rate, but you can determine the former on your own by checking your pulse by hand. Your pulse is how many times your heart pumps per minute.

    First, locate the artery below the thumb on the inside of your wrist and place two fingers there. Count how many times you feel your heartbeat over a 15-second period, and then multiply your count by four to get your resting heart rate.

    When youre checking pulse by hand, youre looking for more than just a number. Youre also checking for a regular rhythm, which indicates a strong pulse.

    Using An Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor

  • Sit with your arm slightly bent and resting comfortably on a table so that your upper arm is on the same level as your heart.
  • Wrap the blood pressure cuff around your bare upper arm. The lower edge of the cuff should be about 2.5 cm above the bend of your elbow.
  • Press the on/off button.
  • Wait until the ready-to-measure “heart” symbol appears next to zero in the display window.
  • Press the start button. The cuff will inflate.
  • After a few seconds, the cuff will begin to deflate. The numbers on the screen will begin to drop.
  • When the measurement is complete, the heart symbol stops flashing. The numbers tell you your blood pressure and pulse.
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    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.

    Determine When To Take Your Blood Pressure

    How many at

    For most women, Dr. Zusman recommends taking two to three blood pressure readings in the morning and two to three readings at night, a few times a week. Don’t go overboard and take your blood pressure constantly. That’s counterproductive. “You become so focused on your blood pressure that every time the cuff comes near your arm your blood pressure goes up just from the anxiety,” says Dr. Zusman.

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    How To Take Your Blood Pressure At Home

    Learn how to check your blood pressure at home and what types of monitors you can buy.

    Many people enjoy doing things for themselves around the house. Now there are do-it-yourself blood pressure checkup kits available, too.

    You need to have your blood pressure checked every two years by your doctor probably more often if it is high. Monitoring yourself at home, though, can help keep you on track between doctor visits.

    With home monitoring, you will be able to give your doctor important information about your blood pressure and how well your treatment is working. It can also alert you to any dangerous increase or drop in pressure.

    Ask your doctor how often you should take your blood pressure and what to do if it is higher or lower than your recommended target range.

    At Home With A Monitor

    Home monitoring can be a great way to keep track of your blood pressure on a daily basis.

    With home monitoring, you can check your blood pressure throughout the day and at times that are convenient for you. It can help you see how your blood pressure changes throughout the day and help you get a sense of your average blood pressure range.

    However, youll need to purchase a blood pressure monitor to do this. Youll also need to learn how to use it and how to record accurate readings.

    Its not complicated to learn the basics of many home monitors, but it can still be easy to make a mistake.

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    How To Check Your Blood Pressure At Home

    Follow expert advice and a step-by-step video to ensure youre getting the most accurate numbers.

    This post is part of a mini blog series dedicated to bringing awareness about your heart health during the American Heart Association’s national #HeartMonth. Miss the other stories? Catch up on 5 Eating Tips for a Healthy Heart, How to Know If You’re Having a Heart Attack, 10 Heart Tests Your Doctor Might Order and What They Mean and Getting Heart Healthy with a Mediterranean Diet.

    To check your blood pressure, you just switch on a portable monitor and put a cuff on your arm, right? Actually, theres a little more to it than that, says cardiology nurse practitioner Tiffany Luke.

    Its important people properly and closely monitor their blood pressure as this is how we determine therapy, Luke explains.

    First things first: What is high blood pressure?

    High blood pressure, medically known as hypertension, can be caused by weight gain, alcohol and salt intake, older age and/or a family history. According to the CDC, about 75 million American adults have high blood pressure. Referred to as the silent killer, its not a reading that should be taken lightly. Controlling or lowering blood pressure can help prevent or delay high blood pressure complications including heart attack, stroke, atrial fibrillation and chronic kidney disease, says Luke.

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    How To Take Blood Pressure Readings

    How to check your blood pressure at home!

    Taking readings requires some thought and preparation, though it will soon become second nature. There are several things to remember:

    • Relax. Steer clear of caffeine and exercise for thirty minutes beforehand, and rest for a few minutes. Sit comfortably upright with your feet flat on the floor and with your back supported.
    • Position your arm correctly. Rest it on a flat surface, with your upper arm level with your heart.
    • Position the cuff correctly, with the bottom edge just above your elbow.

    The instruction manual of your device will also provide you with clear instructions.

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    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.

    Systolic 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.

    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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