Determine When To Take Your Blood Pressure
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.
How Do I Take My Blood Pressure
Before taking your blood pressure:
- Find a quiet place.
- Roll up the sleeve on your left arm or remove any tight-sleeved clothing, if needed.
- Rest in a chair next to a table for five to 10 minutes.
- 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.
Multiple Readings Should Be Taken
One blood pressure reading is not enough to get an accurate measurement. While the specifics of how many readings are necessary can change based on many factors, the essential need for multiple measurements does not.
To ensure an accurate reading, your doctor should be checking your blood pressure over time, and watching the how the values change between office visits. More than this, though, he should actually be taking your blood pressure more than once during each office visit.
Because things like temperature and stress can change blood pressure, more than one reading in a single office visit allows the ability to correct for these variations. For example, your blood pressure is often higher at the beginning of an office visit than at the end. Taking a reading at both the beginning and the end gives a more accurate average reading.
Your doctor should be checking your blood pressure:
- In both arms, not just one
- At both the beginning and the end of your appointment
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Points To Take Into Account
The average of young people and healthy adults have a blood pressure of 120/80. Pregnant women, however, tend to have higher blood pressure.
Adolescents, on the other hand, can often have lower values, such as 110/70 millimeters of mercury .
Adolescents between the ages of 13 and 15 often experience fluctuations in blood pressure readings.
This is perfectly normal since they often undergo stress, as well as physical changes in their body by the hormones that trigger during adolescence.
However, the latent danger of hypertension in young people of this age can not be neglected, since there are millions of cases due to diets full of sugars, sodium, carbohydrates and fats.
This, together with the lack of physical exercise, leads to numerous cases of obesity, a condition that also generates new physical and psychological problems that must be addressed without fail.
What Is High Blood Pressure Exactly
High blood pressure is caused by narrowing blood vessels making the heart work harder to pump through the vessels. This increased workload causes a spike in bp readings, placing a strain on vital organs and there is a sign in the eyes that could indicate someone has HBP.
High blood pressure can damage the vessels supplying blood to your retina, causing retinopathy.
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In What Other Points Can I Feel The Pulse Of A Person
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.
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.
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Tips For Checking Your Own Blood Pressure
There are certain factors that can cause blood pressure to temporarily rise. For example, blood pressure normally rises as a result of:
- Certain medicines
Try to avoid as many of these factors as you can when taking your blood pressure. Also, try to measure your blood pressure at about the same time each day. Your doctor may want you to check your blood pressure several times during the day to see if it fluctuates.
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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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
What Does Your Blood Pressure Reading Mean
If this is your first time taking your blood pressure, discuss the results with your doctor. Blood pressure is a very individualized vital sign reading, which means it can be very different for each person. Some people have naturally low blood pressure all the time, for example, while others may run on the higher side.
In general, a normal blood pressure is considered anything less than 120/80. Your own personal blood pressure will depend on your gender, age, weight, and any medical conditions you have. If you do register a blood pressure reading of 120/80 or over, wait two to five minutes and recheck.
If its still high, talk to your doctor to rule out hypertension. If your blood pressure ever goes over 180 systolic or over 120 diastolic after a repeat reading, seek emergency medical care right away.
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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.
How Does The Blood Pressure Calculator Work
This blood pressure calculator is sourced from the NHS and can instantly help you understand your reading. Enter the two numbers from your reading into the blood pressure checker and click Submit. The blood pressure checker will calculate your reading and summarise what your reading means.
The blood pressure tool will explain your reading and give advice from the NHS on improving or maintaining healthy blood pressure.
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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.
Hypertension: 15 Blood Tests For Individuals With High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a perfect example of silent but deadly. It doesnt show symptoms until later stages when its already done significant harm to your health and your body.;
;And to make it worse, high blood pressure is more common than ever, and due to in-clinic medical costs, people are going to the doctor less often which means they dont get diagnosed or receive the proper monitoring and control.
In the US,;one out of every three adults;has high blood pressure. Worried that you or a loved one are one of them? Read about risk factors and what affordable tests you can order to test your exposure, below.;
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How Does My Circadian Rhythm Affect My Blood Pressure Medication
Michael Smolensky, adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Texas, Ausin, reports, â”The body doesn’t respond to medications in the same way at different times of the day. Some drugs are not as effective or as well tolerated if they’re taken at the wrong biological time. It’s not that they’re not effective at all, but they’re certainly much less effective.”Studies on chronotherapy have found that taking high blood pressure medications before bedtime help with the non-dipping issue. This reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke by normalizing your daily blood pressure rhythm. Specifically, it has been reported that drugs called ACE inhibitors and ARBs are the most effective when taken at bedtime.
Choosing Times That Work For You
The best times of day to take your blood pressure depend on you and your daily routine. Its important to pick times that you can stick to every day.
Taking your blood pressure at the same time each day is key to understanding your blood pressure. It can help make sure that the readings you take arent affected by the events of your day.
You can select times when you know youll be home and are unlikely to be interrupted. For example, you could check your blood pressure before you leave for work, when you get home from work, and before bed.
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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.
Tips To Measure Your Blood Pressure Correctly
To determine whether you have hypertension, a medical professional will take a blood pressure reading. How you prepare for the test, the position of your arm, and other factors can change a blood pressure reading by 10% or more. That could be enough to hide high blood pressure, start you on a drug you don’t really need, or lead your doctor to incorrectly adjust your medications.
National and international guidelines offer specific instructions for measuring blood pressure. If a doctor, nurse, or medical assistant isn’t doing it right, don’t hesitate to ask him or her to get with the guidelines.
Here’s what you can do to ensure a correct reading:
Don’t drink a caffeinated beverage or smoke during the 30 minutes before the test.
Sit quietly for five minutes before the test begins.
During the measurement, sit in a chair with your feet on the floor and your arm supported so your elbow is at about heart level.
The inflatable part of the cuff should completely cover at least 80% of your upper arm, and the cuff should be placed on bare skin, not over a shirt.
Don’t talk during the measurement.
Have your blood pressure measured twice, with a brief break in between. If the readings are different by 5 points or more, have it done a third time.
For more on getting your blood pressure under control, buy Controlling Your Blood Pressure, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
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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.
High Blood Pressure Symptoms
Like we said above, by the time you have noticeable symptoms, like the few below, your high blood pressure is doing significant damage to your body.;
You may have advanced high blood pressure and correlating health issues if you often have:;
- Increased heart rate;
- High cholesterol levels;
Since high blood pressure symptoms can lie dormant for so long, its better to find out your diagnosis and risk as soon as possible.;See if you identify with any of the risk factors for developing HBP, below.;
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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.