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How To Check Low Blood Pressure

What Are The Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure

How to Check Your Blood Pressure At Home [Dr. Claudia]

Low blood pressure often has no symptoms, but can sometimes mean that not enough blood is flowing to your brain or organs. This can cause symptoms such as:

  • feeling dizzy, faint or light-headed
  • feeling unsteady
  • suddenly noticing your heartbeat
  • fainting

If you have these symptoms, stop what youre doing and sit down or lie down in case you fall, and drink some water.

Speak to your doctor or nurse if you experience these symptoms. As well as being unpleasant, they could mean youre at risk of having a fall. They could also be a sign of another health problem.

When Should You Call Your Doctor About Low Blood Pressure

If you have recurring dizziness or fainting, or other symptoms of low blood pressure, you should visit your doctor. Sudden drops in blood pressure can be dangerous. It is important for your doctor to determine why your blood pressure is dropping and treat the cause.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/08/2019.

References

Common Causes Of Inaccurate Readings

A number of factors can affect your blood pressure and heart rate. If your numbers are unusually high or low, make some adjustments before trying again:

  • Stress. When youre worried, stress hormones temporarily elevate both your blood pressure and heart rate. Avoid stressors before checking your blood pressure at home.
  • Drug and alcohol use. Tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine can affect your numbers, so avoid stimulants and depressants.
  • Other medicines. Talk with your doctor about prescription and over-the-counter medicines that may interfere with an accurate reading.

Once you determine your heart rate and blood pressure, record them in a journal or app. Try taking your pulse and checking your blood pressure around the same time every day to establish a personalized baseline. Its that baseline your doctor will use to help you determine what your numbers mean.

To schedule a comprehensive heart screening, visit UPMCs Heart and Vascular Institute.

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Testing Your Blood Pressure At Home

Your GP may suggest 24-hour or ambulatory blood pressure monitoring if they think you may have high blood pressure .

ABPM tests your blood pressure regularly over 24 hours, by using a cuff attached to a portable device that’s worn on your waist.

You can continue with your daily activities during this time.

If you want to regularly check your blood pressure at home, you can buy a machine.

Check Your Blood Sugar

Blood Pressure: High or Low

Diabetes and high blood sugar levels may lead to low blood pressure. Volume depletion can occur from the diuresis that follows high blood sugar levels. This is when your body tries to expel glucose via increased urination.

Consider using a home monitor to check your blood sugar levels throughout the day. See your doctor to find out the best diet, exercise, and medication plan to help balance blood sugar levels.

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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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Treatments To Raise Your Low Blood Pressure

Sometimes, there is no clearly identifiable cause of low blood pressure. Or there may not be an effective treatment for the underlying cause. In these cases, the goal is to help prevent symptoms of low blood pressure. Your doctor may recommend the following strategies:

  • Drink more water:Water keeps your blood volume high and prevents dehydration. Sports drinks and rehydration drinks also add electrolytes.
  • Eat some salt:Salt can help raise your blood pressure. Many people need to limit salt because it makes their blood pressure too high. For people with low blood pressure, salt can actually be helpful. However, too much salt can be bad for your heart and kidneys. Check with your doctor to find the right amount of salt intake for you.
  • Wear compression stockings: These stockings stop blood from pooling in your lower legs and promote better circulation.

If you have orthostatic hypotension, your doctor may prescribe a medication, such as midodrine .

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What Is The Best Way To Measure Blood Pressure

The most accurate way to measure blood pressure is using a sphygmomanometer and stethoscope. When you get your blood pressure measured at a medical office, your doctor uses a sphygmomanometer that includes a dial or column, pump, arm cuff, and stethoscope:

  • The cuff is wrapped around your arm while your arm is kept at the same level as your heart.
  • The pump tightens the cuff around your arm, putting pressure on the artery.
  • Your doctor then releases the pressure and uses a stethoscope to measure your pulse rate.
  • Your doctor records the pressure on the dial as your blood starts to flow back to your arm and checks two measurement points to determine your blood pressure reading.

When To See A Healthcare Provider Or Go To The Hospital

Blood Pressure Measurement: How to Check Blood Pressure Manually

If you have symptoms of low blood pressure, you should discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider. Low blood pressure can be successfully treated. Treatment can include medication and lifestyle changes. Getting up slowly when you go from a sitting to a standing position, getting enough fluids, and avoiding excess heat can all help to reduce the frequency of hypotensive episodes.

If you notice the symptoms of shock in yourself or someone else, you should contact emergency services immediately.

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Apps To Track Blood Pressure

Although there are apps that promise to check your blood pressure without using equipment, this isnt an accurate or reliable method.

However, there are apps available that can help you track your blood pressure results. This can be helpful in identifying patterns in your blood pressure. Your doctor may use this information to determine if you require blood pressure medications.

Some examples of free blood pressure-monitoring apps include:

  • Blood Pressure Monitor Family Litefor iPhone. You can enter your blood pressure, weight, and height, as well as track the medications you take.
  • Blood Pressure for Android. This app tracks your blood pressure and features several statistical and graphical analysis tools.
  • Blood Pressure Companion for iPhone. This app allows you to track your blood pressure as well as view graphs and trends on your blood pressure readings across several days or weeks.

These apps can help you quickly and easily track your blood pressure readings. Measuring your blood pressure regularly on the same arm can help you most accurately track your blood pressure readings.

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.

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If You Get A High Blood Pressure Reading

  • A single high reading is not an immediate cause for alarm. If you get a reading that is slightly or moderately higher than normal, take your blood pressure a few more times and consult your healthcare professional to verify if there s a health concern or whether there may be any issues with your monitor.
  • If your blood pressure readings suddenly exceed 180/120 mm Hg, wait five minutes and test again. If your readings are still unusually high, contact your doctor immediately. You could be experiencing a hypertensive crisis.
  • If your blood pressure is higher than 180/120 mm Hg and you are experiencing signs of possible organ damage such as chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness/weakness, change in vision, difficulty speaking, do not wait to see if your pressure comes down on its own. Call 911.

Automated Blood Pressure Machines

What is hypertension (high blood pressure)?

The easiest and most accurate way to measure the blood pressure at home is to buy an automated blood pressure monitor with an upper arm cuff.

The instructions for use may vary with each machine, and a person should follow them carefully to ensure proper operation. If the instructions are difficult to understand, a local pharmacy or doctors office will be able to show a person how to operate the machine correctly.

Doctors may ask a person to bring their at-home machine to the office during their next visit to test the accuracy compared to the doctors reading.

Using a high-quality machine is important, as inaccurate readings may cause unnecessary or harmful changes in medications or treatments.

A variety of blood pressure monitors are available for purchase online and in most drug stores. A person may wish to speak to a doctor about which brand they recommend.

There are apps and wrist devices that claim to measure the blood pressure, but these results are frequently inaccurate and are not a reliable way to monitor a persons health.

Apps that log blood pressure results may be helpful for people who need to take regular blood pressure tests, however.

Recording a set of readings into these apps may help doctors identify trends in blood pressure and recommend treatments.

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What Are The Potential Complications Of Low Blood Pressure

Because low blood pressure can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:

  • Brain damage

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • Why do I need to monitor my blood pressure at home?
  • How often do I need to measure my blood pressure?
  • What type of monitor should I use?
  • What do my blood pressure readings mean?
  • What is considered a normal blood pressure for me?
  • What should I do if my readings are abnormal?
  • Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to help manage my blood pressure?
  • Do I need to take medicine to manage my blood pressure?
  • What other things can affect a blood pressure reading?

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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.

How To Raise Low Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure : How to Test Blood Pressure

If youre dealing with hypotension, the first step is making an appointment with your doctor. After discussing your medical history, lifestyle, and other factors, your doctor may change your medication or suggest certain lifestyle changes to get to the root of the issue.

Its important not to stop taking any medications or change dosages without talking to a healthcare professional first. The same is true of dietary or other changes.

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How Do Health Care Professionals Measure My Blood Pressure

First, a health care professional wraps an inflatable cuff around your arm. The health care professional then inflates the cuff, which gently tightens on your arm. The cuff has a gauge on it that will measure your blood pressure.

The health care professional will slowly let air out of the cuff while listening to your pulse with a stethoscope and watching the gauge. This process is quick and painless. If using a digital or automatic blood pressure cuff, the health care professional will not need to use a stethoscope.

The gauge uses a unit of measurement called millimeters of mercury to measure the pressure in your blood vessels.

If you have high blood pressure, talk to your health care team about steps to take to control your blood pressure to lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Use this list of questions to ask your health care team pdf icon to help you manage your blood pressure.

Is Low Blood Pressure Associated With Tiredness Or Depression

Many years ago it was thought that blood pressures below a systolic of 90 mmHg could lead to tiredness and depression and many women were wrongly treated for low blood pressure with drugs that stimulatethe nervous system. Large studies have now suggested that there is no relationship, provided there is no underlying cause for the low blood pressure.

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How To Use A Home Blood Pressure Monitor

  • Be still. Don’t smoke, drink caffeinated beverages or exercise within 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure. Empty your bladder and ensure at least 5 minutes of quiet rest before measurements.
  • Sit correctly.Sit with your back straight and supported . Your feet should be flat on the floor and your legs should not be crossed. Your arm should be supported on a flat surface with the upper arm at heart level. Make sure the bottom of the cuff is placed directly above the bend of the elbow. Check your monitor’s instructions for an illustration or have your healthcare provider show you how.
  • Measure at the same time every day. Its important to take the readings at the same time each day, such as morning and evening. It is best to take the readings daily however ideally beginning 2 weeks after a change in treatment and during the week before your next appointment.
  • Take multiple readings and record the results. Each time you measure, take two or three readings one minute apart and record the results using a tracker. If your monitor has built-in memory to store your readings, take it with you to your appointments. Some monitors may also allow you to upload your readings to a secure website after you register your profile.
  • Don’t take the measurement over clothes.
and/or HIGHER THAN 120

Note: A diagnosis of high blood pressure must be confirmed with a medical professional. A doctor should also evaluate any unusually low blood pressure readings.

How Is Low Blood Pressure Diagnosed

LOW BLOOD PRESSURE [HYPOTENSION]: HERBAL HOME REMEDY ~ Naijcure

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and take your blood pressure by placing a blood pressure cuff around your upper arm. The cuff will tighten on your arm, and the monitor will measure your systolic and diastolic pressure. A blood pressure reading of 90/60 mm Hg is considered low blood pressure.

Low blood pressure may be a sign of an underlying condition, so your doctor will try to determine what caused your blood pressure to drop. Depending on your medical history and symptoms, your doctor may also check your heart using an echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, or stress test. Your doctor may also perform blood tests to check for:

  • Hormonal imbalances.

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What Can You Do To Help Relieve Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure

Depending on the type of low blood pressure you have, you may be able to relieve some of your symptoms by:

  • Eating a healthy diet with fewer carbohydrates and smaller meals.
  • Drinking more water and avoiding alcohol.
  • Getting up slowly after youve been sitting or lying down.
  • Focusing on breathing a few times before you change position.
  • Wearing compression stockings.

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