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, or pharmacist 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.
Keep A Blood Pressure Diary
Keep a blood pressure diary. Your records may help explain changes in your blood pressure readings and help your doctor make sure you get the right treatment.
Everyone’s blood pressure changes from day to day and even from minute to minute sometimes. Blood pressure tends to be higher in the morning and lower at night. Stress, smoking, eating, exercise, cold, pain, noise, medicines, and even talking can affect it.
Record your blood pressure numbers with the date and time. You might use a home blood pressure log or a spreadsheet on your computer. Your monitor might have a feature that will record your numbers for you. Some monitors can transfer this information to your computer.
Also record your daily activities, such as the time you take medicine or if you feel upset or feel stressed.
What Is It Used For
A blood pressure measurement is most often used to diagnose high blood pressure.
Blood pressure that’s too low, known as hypotension, is much less common. But you may get tested for low blood pressure if you have certain symptoms. Unlike high blood pressure, low blood pressure usually causes symptoms. These include:
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Technology Could Improve Accuracy Of Home Monitoring
Some doctors are becoming more high-tech about gathering blood pressure data from patients. Yale Medicine and the Yale New Haven Health Heart & Vascular Center joined forces before the pandemic to develop and implement a digital hypertension program that uses Bluetooth cuffs that sync directly with the patients electronic medical record through the patient portal MyChart, eliminating the need for patients to write the numbers down.
We identified patients who had uncontrolled blood pressure and who we determined would benefit from more intense management, says Dr. Spatz. Doctors gave cuffs to patients seen in their cardiology clinic, as well as to postpartum women who had hypertension or preeclampsia during pregnancy before they left the hospital. This way they could follow them closely for six weeks after birth, which doctors say is still a vulnerable period where blood pressure could increase and lead to life-threatening complications.
While it may take some time before that service is available to more patients, Dr. Spatz hopes to see it become more common in the future, along with other possible innovations. She is also working with Dr Peixoto, Yale Medicine cardiologist Harlan Krumholz, MD, and collaborators at Texas A& M University to develop a wrist-worn, cuff-less blood pressure monitoring system. The project is funded by the National Institutes of Health, and there is no timeline yet for when such a device will be available for patients.
/4automated Blood Pressure Machine
This is the easiest way to take your own blood pressure. The automatic blood pressure machine includes both a gauge and the cuff and also comes with an error indicator. The cuff inflates on its own and does not require a stethoscope. After the blood pressure is measured, it is displayed on the screen.
It is important to note that the cuff is of the right size because in case it is too tight or loose, the blood pressure will not be accurate. It is a good option for a hassle-free blood pressure check-up and is perfect for people who live alone or do not want to put a lot of effort into reading their blood pressure.
Although the automatic machine is a great option, there are certain drawbacks like:
- Body movements can affect accuracy.
- Some machines only work on the left arm.
- Some are battery operated.
For a manual blood pressure reading you will need the following:
A blood pressure cuff with a squeezable balloon
Here are some steps that you should take to determine your blood pressure manually:
The drawback of checking your blood pressure manually are:
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Tips For Using Your Blood Pressure Cuff
To get the most accurate blood pressure reading, remember the following tips:
- Make sure the blood pressure cuff is the right size for you. Cuffs come in different sizes, including pediatric sizes if you have very small arms. You should be able to comfortably slip one finger between your arm and the cuff when its deflated.
- Avoid smoking, drinking, or exercising 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure.
- Be sure to sit with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Your feet shouldnt be crossed.
- Take your blood pressure at different times of the day and record exactly what time each blood pressure measurement is taken.
- Rest 3 to 5 minutes before taking your blood pressure and a few extra minutes if youve recently been very active.
- Take at least two readings every time to make sure theyre correct. The readings should be within a few numbers of each other.
- Take your blood pressure at different times throughout the day over a period of time to get the most accurate readings and ranges.
- Bring your own at-home monitor to your doctors office at least once a year to calibrate it and make sure its working correctly.
How To Check Bp In Mobile Using Apps
Apart from checking blood pressure with an automated machine or manually, there are other ways. Currently, there are several mobile applications available that promise to check blood pressure without any equipment.
These apps help individuals identify patterns in their blood pressure. Your house physician can take help of these results before prescribing medications since the results of these apps may be wrong so doctors can test blood pressure to confirm and tally the results before finally prescribing them.
Following is a list of some blood pressure monitoring applications,
- Blood Pressure Companion for iPhone– You can manage your blood pressure, weight, temperature, and many other health data through this app. This app comprises lifetime data tracking, statistics reporting, medication correlation, chart visualisation, optional cloud data synchronisation, email import/export, reminders, and other easy-to-use features.
- Blood Pressure for Android– This app comes equipped with multiple built-in features, such as measurement analysis, comprehensive reports, statistics, graphs and many others, which will help track blood pressure levels.
- Blood Pressure Monitor-Family Lite for iPhone- Apart from tracking blood pressure, this app will allow you to track heart rate and weight.
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When To Check Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is easy to measure with an inflatable cuff around your arm and anyone over the age of 18 should have it checked. Your doctor or other health providers likely check it anytime you go in for a visit. Itâs best to check your blood pressure at least once every couple of years. If youâve had a borderline or high reading in the past, itâs a good idea to check it more often.
High blood pressure doesnât always come with any warning signs. But over time, it can lead to serious health problems. Checking your blood pressure often will help you know whatâs normal for you and catch any problem sooner.
Using An Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor
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What Is My Risk Of A Heart Attack If I Have High Cholesterol
High cholesterol increases your risk of a heart attack. The higher the cholesterol, the higher the risk. However, many other factors also affect your risk of a heart attack, such as smoking, diabetes, age, and high blood pressure. For more information on related risk factors, read the American Heart Associations article Understand Your Risk for High Cholesterol.
Ways To Test Your Blood Sugar
Traditional home glucose monitoring
You prick your finger with a small, sharp needle called a lancet, put a drop of blood on a test strip, and then place the strip into a meter that displays your blood sugar levels. Record the test results so you can share them with your doctor. Based on your results, the two of you may adjust your diet, exercise, or medication.
Meters vary in features, portability, speed, size, cost, and readability . Devices deliver results in less than 15 seconds and store this information for future use.
Some meters also calculate an average blood sugar level over a span of time. Some also feature software kits that take information from the meter and display graphs and charts of your past test results. Blood sugar meters and strips are available at your local pharmacy.
Meters that test other parts of your body
Some devices let you test your upper arm, forearm, base of the thumb, and thigh.
These results may differ from the blood sugar levels gotten from a fingertip stick. Levels in the fingertips show changes more quickly. This is especially true when your sugar is changing fast, like after a meal or after exercise.
If you have symptoms of low blood sugar, donât rely on test results from other parts of your body.
Continuous glucose monitoring system
You’ll still need to check your levels throughout the day continuous glucose monitoring doesn’t replace that. It gives your doctor more information about trends that self-checking might not show.
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Apps To Track Your 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 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 apps to monitor blood pressure include:
- Blood Pressure Monitor Family Lite for iOS. With this app, 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 iOS and macOS. 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.
What Can Affect My Results
If you consistently see results that arenât expected, recalibrate your meter and check the strips.
The chart below shows you the ideal blood sugar ranges for most adults except for pregnant women. Your ideal range may be different from another person’s and will change throughout the day, so check with your doctor for your targets.
Time of Test
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Whats Considered A Normal Or Healthy Blood Pressure Range
Blood pressure is a very individualized vital sign, which means it can be very different for each person. Some people have naturally low blood pressure all the time, while others may run on the higher side.
In general, a normal blood pressure is considered anything less than 120/80 mm Hg. Your own personal blood pressure will depend on your:
|Hypertensive crisis||higher than 180||higher than 120|
When determining the category you fall into, its important to remember that both your systolic and diastolic numbers need to be in the normal range for your blood pressure to be considered normal.
If one number falls into one of the other categories, your blood pressure is considered to be in that category. For example, if your blood pressure is 115/92, your blood pressure would be considered high blood pressure stage 2.
If your blood pressure ever goes over 180 systolic or over 120 diastolic after a repeat reading, seek emergency medical care right away.
Monitoring your blood pressure can help you and your doctor identify any issues early on. If treatment is needed, its better to start it early before damage has occurred in your arteries.
Treatment may involve lifestyle changes, such as:
You’re Pregnant And Your Last Reading Was Iffy
During pregnancy, you can develop a condition known as preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure when you’re pregnant. People who are pregnant “could benefit from a home blood pressure cuff to make sure they aren’t developing preeclampsia, especially toward the last several weeks of pregnancy,” Dr. Haythe says.
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Which Measures Of Blood Pressure Are Clinically Important
There are potentially three major measures of blood pressure that could contribute to the adverse effects of hypertension. The first is the average or true level, the second is the diurnal variation, and the third the short-term variability.
Average clinic blood pressure
Presently, epidemiologic and clinical data are available only for the average level of blood pressure. In clinical practice, a patients blood pressure is typically characterized by a single value of the systolic and diastolic pressures, to denote the average level. Such readings are normally taken in a clinic setting, but there is extensive evidence that in hypertensive patients, clinic pressures are consistently higher than the average 24-hour pressures recorded with ambulatory monitors.70 This overestimation by clinic readings of the true pressure at high levels of pressure and underestimation at low levels has been referred to as the regression dilution bias and means that the slope of the line relating blood pressure and cardiovascular morbidity should be steeper for the true blood pressure than for the clinic pressure.71
Diurnal variation in blood pressure
Blood pressure variability
How To Check Bp At Home Using An Automated Machine
Brush off your worries about how to check blood pressure at home and purchase an automated blood pressure machine. These machines use a digital monitor, and the results are visible on the screen.
Automated blood pressure machines are easy to use and are available online, in grocery stores or pharmacies. Read on to know how to check BP with a machine.
- Step-1: Sit comfortably in a chair and bend your upper arm and put it on a table. The position of your upper arm and heart must be on a similar level.
- Step-2: Move your hand through the hollow cuff of the automated machine and wrap it round your bare upper arm. Make sure your arms lower edge is about 2.5 cm on top of the bend of the elbow.
- Step-3: Once the cuff is properly attached, hit the power button. A heart symbol will appear beside zero on the screen. Wait for it.
- Step-4: Click the start button. The cuff around your arm will begin to inflate. You may feel intense pressure on your upper arm. After that, this cuff will deflate, and you can see numbers on-screen .
- Step-5: The heart symbol will stop flashing after the measurement is complete, and you can see the ultimate blood pressure number on the screen.
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