How To Use An Automated Blood Pressure Machine
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. You can purchase these online, at most grocery stores, or at a health food store.
The American Heart Association recommends an automatic, upper arm blood pressure monitor for at-home use. To use your digital blood pressure monitor, follow the instructions that come with it. You can also take the monitor to your doctors office, or even your local pharmacy, for a demonstration.
You should also purchase a small notebook to start a blood pressure log. This can be helpful for your doctor. You can a free blood pressure log from the AHA.
Machines can give you a different reading than a manual blood pressure reading. Bring your cuff to your next doctors appointment so you can compare the reading from your cuff to the reading your doctor takes. This can help you calibrate your machine and identify levels you should look for on your own device.
Its also important to purchase a high-quality machine and monitor for errors. Even if you check your blood pressure at home, your doctor will still want to manually check it during appointments.
What Is Body Temperature
The normal body temperature of a person varies depending on gender, recent activity, food and fluid consumption, time of day, and, in women, the stage of the menstrual cycle. Normal body temperature can range from 97.8;degrees;F to 99 degrees;F for a healthy adult. A person’s body temperature can be taken in any of the following ways:
Orally. Temperature can be taken by mouth using either the classic glass thermometer, or the more modern digital thermometers that use an electronic probe to measure body temperature.
Rectally. Temperatures taken rectally tend to be 0.5 to 0.7 degrees;F higher than when taken by mouth.
Axillary. Temperatures can be taken under the arm using a;glass or digital thermometer. Temperatures taken by this route tend to be 0.3 to 0.4 degrees F lower than those temperatures taken by mouth.
A special thermometer can quickly measure the temperature of the ear drum, which reflects the body’s core temperature .
A special thermometer can quickly measure the temperature of the skin on the forehead.
Body temperature may be abnormal due to fever or hypothermia . A fever is indicated when body temperature rises about one degree or more over the normal temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Hypothermia is defined as a drop in body temperature below 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
What Is The Respiration Rate
The respiration rate is the number of breaths a person takes per minute. The rate is usually measured when a person is at rest and simply involves counting the number of breaths for one minute by counting how many times the chest rises. Respiration rates may increase with fever, illness, and other medical conditions. When checking respiration, it is important to also note whether a person has any difficulty breathing.
Normal respiration rates for an adult person at rest range from 12 to;16 breaths per minute.
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What Are Vital Signs
Vital signs are measurements of the body’s most basic functions. The four main vital signs routinely monitored by medical professionals and health care providers include the following:
Vital signs are useful in detecting or monitoring medical problems. Vital signs can be measured in a medical setting, at home, at the site of a medical emergency, or elsewhere.
Part 2 Of 4: Positioning The Blood Pressure Cuff
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A Blood Pressure Reading Gives Two Numbers
The top systolic reading gives the pressure of your blood on your arteries at it travels around your body.
The bottom diastolic reading is the lowest pressure on your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
Enter these numbers into the blood pressure calculator and Submit. The blood pressure calculator will instantly summarise your reading and give recommendations.
Record readings entered into the blood pressure checker to monitor changes and seek medical advice if you are concerned about any results using the blood pressure calculator.
Before Checking Your Blood Pressure
- Find a quiet place to check your blood pressure. You will need to listen for your heartbeat.
- Make sure that you are comfortable and relaxed with a recently emptied bladder .
- Roll up the sleeve on your arm or remove any tight-sleeved clothing.
- Rest in a chair next to a table for 5 to 10 minutes. Your arm should rest comfortably at heart level. Sit up straight with your back against the chair, legs uncrossed. Rest your forearm on the table with the palm of your hand facing up.
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Choosing A Home Blood Pressure Monitor
The American Heart Association recommends an automatic, cuff-style, bicep monitor.
- Wrist and finger monitors are not recommended because they yield less reliable readings.
- Choose a monitor that has been validated. If you are unsure, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice;or find options at validatebp.org.
- When selecting a blood pressure monitor for a senior, pregnant woman or child, make sure it is validated for these conditions.
- Make sure the cuff fits measure around your upper arm and choose a monitor that comes with the correct size cuff.
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.
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Routine Blood Pressure Readings
Getting a blood pressure reading has become a routine fixture of the American health care landscape. For most people, it’s a goes-without-saying part of any yearly or biannual visit to your primary caregiver. For others, an occasional free screening at the local pharmacy does the trick.
For people at higher risk meaning those with a history of high blood pressure blood pressure readings are even more commonplace because many have followed an American Heart Association recommendation that encourages such people to do frequent home monitoring to ensure that ongoing blood pressure treatments are working.
The practice is both easy and cheap, with experts at Harvard Health Publishing pegging blood pressure home equipment at between $50 and $100. Some insurance plans even cover the cost.
This means that most Americans are all too familiar with the classic sight of an arm-wrapped neoprene cuff slowly pumping up and down. But here’s a fact that may be a surprise: Blood pressure readings are not actually limited to the arm.
About Glass Thermometers Containing Mercury
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mercury is a toxic substance that poses a threat to the health of humans, as well as to the environment. Because of the risk of breaking, glass thermometers containing mercury should be removed from use and disposed of properly in accordance with local, state, and federal laws. Contact your local health department, waste disposal authority, or fire department for information on how to properly dispose of mercury thermometers.
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When Should I Check My Blood Pressure
A regular blood pressure check is the best way of monitoring blood pressure. You can request a blood pressure test from a GP or pharmacy, or take a reading at home using a blood pressure monitor.
If you have been diagnosed with high or low blood pressure, or have a higher risk of developing either it is advisable to check your blood pressure more frequently. It is recommended that adults over 40 should check their blood pressure at least every 5 years to detect any potential issues early.
This blood pressure checker is sourced from the NHS, all recommendations given by the blood pressure tool are supplied by the NHS website. Use the blood pressure checker as often as you wish.
Common Blood Pressure Measurement Errors:
- Bladder cuff too narrow or wide;
- Limb being assessed is unsupported;
- Insufficient rest before the assessment;
- Repeating the assessment too quickly;
- Cuff not wrapped tightly and evenly;
- Deflating the cuff to quickly;
- Deflating the cuff too slowly;
- Failure to use the same site for consistency;
- Limb being assessed is measured while above their heart level.
- Berman, A et al. 2015, Kozier and Erb’s fundamentals of nursing. Pearson Australia Melbourne, Victoria.
- Estes, MEZ., Calleja, P., Theobald, K. & Harvey, T. 2013, Health assessment and physical examination: Australian & New Zealand ed. Cengage Learning Australia South Melbourne, Victoria.
- Tollefson, J. & Hillman, E. 2018. Clinical Psychomotor Skills. 7th ed. Cengage Learning Australia South Melbourne, Victoria.
- Wake, D. 2017, ‘How to Take Blood Pressure’, Ausmed.
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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 Equipment Do I Need To Measure My Blood Pressure At Home
To measure your blood pressure at home, you can use either an aneroid monitor or digital monitor. Choose the type of monitor that best meets your needs. Look at the following features when you select a monitor.
- Size:;The right cuff size is very important. The cuff size you need is based on the size of your arm. You can ask the doctor, nurse, orpharmacist;to help you. Blood pressure readings can be wrong if your cuff is the wrong size.
- Price:;Cost may be a key factor. Home blood pressure units vary in price. You may want to shop around to find the best deal. Keep in mind that pricey units may not be the best or most accurate.
- Display:;The numbers on the monitor should be easy for you to read.
- Sound:;You must be able to hear your heartbeat through the stethoscope.
Tests show that finger and wrist devices do not always provide correct measurements. These devices are sensitive to placement and body temperature. They also are expensive and can cost more than $100.
The aneroid monitor manually checks your blood pressure. It has a gauge that you read by looking at a pointer on the dial. The cuff goes around your upper arm and you squeeze a rubber bulb to inflate it by hand.
Inflation of the cuff is either automatic or manual, depending on the model. Deflation is automatic. Digital monitors are good for hearing-impaired patients, since there is no need to listen to your heartbeat through the stethoscope.
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About Heart And Vascular Institute
The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute has long been a leader in cardiovascular care, with a rich history in clinical research and innovation. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the country and as the developer of one of the first heart-assist devices, UPMC has contributed to advancing the field of cardiovascular medicine.
S To Accurate Manual Blood Pressure Measurement
Working for a company that develops blood pressure monitoring devices and technologies, I deal with blood pressure on some level every day. We make accurate and reliable blood pressure measurement our business…literally. So, it only makes sense that we should care about accurate blood pressure measurement from a fundamental perspective, which is the inspiration for my first blog post.
As most readers probably know, the typical method for blood pressure measurement has long been the manual auscultatory technique with a mercury column or mechanical aneroid sphygmomanometer. However, with the benefits that automated BP devices provide with a repeatable standardized technique and removal of observer bias, there has been a shift towards automated devices in clinical practice. As the American Heart Association states in their most recent recommendations for blood pressure measurement, “there is a role for devices in office use, both as a substitute for traditional readings and as supplements to them.”;* However, the AHA goes on to recommend that a properly maintained monitor for manual measurement of blood pressure be available for routine office measurement.
Step 1 – Choose the right equipment: What you will need: 1. A quality stethoscope 2. An appropriately sized blood pressure cuff 3. A blood pressure measurement instrument such as an aneroid or mercury;column sphygmomanometer or an automated device with a manual inflate mode.
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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.
How To Take Your Blood Pressure
You can take your blood pressure at home using a blood pressure monitor and use the blood pressure calculator as guidance on what your reading means. Ensure the monitor has been clinically validated. Find a list of blood pressure monitors available for home use on the British and Irish Hypertension Society website.
- Sit quietly and comfortably on a chair with legs uncrossed and feet flat on the ground with an even surface in front of you.
- Place your arm on the surface in front of you so that it is supported level with your heart. Remove tight clothing and wrap the cuff around your upper arm.
- Activate the blood pressure monitor, the cuff will inflate to restrict the blood flow in your arm is it gauges your blood pressure. This will last for a short time.
- As the cuff deflates, your reading is displayed on the monitor. Enter the two numbers into the blood pressure checker to determine the health of your reading.
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