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.
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.
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How Do You Check Your Blood Pressure With Your Fingers
Most doctors recommend the use of a blood pressure machine to check blood pressure. An individual may check heart rate with their fingers, but not blood pressure. Data shows checking blood pressure using fingers may not be accurate though there is an obscure method to correlate the pulse reading with systolic blood pressure. Blood pressure must be always measured using validated equipment.
Place the fingers on the inside of the wrist to locate the pulse. Now, take two fingers and place them just below the wrist creases on the thumb side of the hand. A strong pulse felt at the wrist correlates to the systolic blood pressure of at least 80 mmHg. This method is not always correct and hence not recommended.
It is important to use the correct technique to obtain an accurate measurement. Blood pressure is the force the blood exerts on the sides of the blood vessels as it moves ahead and is an important indicator of health. The pulse will give the basic information required to estimate the systolic blood pressure . Keep in mind this is a very rough estimate and only indicates if the systolic blood pressure is not low. Blood pressure monitoring should be done with a cuff and a stethoscope. However, recent advances in technology have made budget-friendly automatic blood pressure monitors easily available in pharmacies.
Regulation Of Blood Pressure
These different mechanisms are not necessarily independent of each other, as indicated by the link between the RAS and aldosterone release. When blood pressure falls many physiological cascades commence in order to return the blood pressure to a more appropriate level.
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What Is Normal Blood Pressure And When Is Blood Pressure Considered To Be High
Blood pressure is always measured on a number of different days and when you are at rest. If several of these measurements are too high, you are said to have high blood pressure, even if only one of the two either the systolic or the diastolic one is high. The medical term for high blood pressure is hypertension. In adults, blood pressure is considered to be normal under a systolic value of 140 mmHg and under a diastolic value of 90 mmHg.
When taking your blood pressure for the first time, it makes sense to measure the blood pressure in both arms, because it’s sometimes high on only one side. The values that are higher are always the ones used for assessing blood pressure. After that it is enough to measure the blood pressure only in the arm that produced the higher reading. A person is considered to have high blood pressure if the systolic value is over 140 mmHg, the diastolic value is over 90 mmHg, or if both are higher than these readings.
Table: Normal and high blood pressure readings
|systolic over 140 mmHg and/or diastolic over 90 mmHg
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
You and your provider can work as a team to lower your high blood pressure. Here are some questions to ask so you can be fully informed.
- What should my blood pressure be?
- What kind of diet should I follow to help control my blood pressure?
- How much should I weigh?
- Can you recommend a diet or eating plan to help me reach that weight?
- How much exercise should I be doing?
Then, if your doctor has prescribed blood pressure medication, ask:
- How does this medication work?
- Is it generic, and if not, are there generic substitutes available?
- What are the side effects?
- What interactions might happen with the other drugs Iâm taking?
- Is there a specific time of day that I should take the medication?
- Should I take it with food or on an empty stomach?
Don’t hesitate to use the words “I don’t understand.” Doctors are only human and may not always know when they haven’t explained something well or in terms you can understand. Never feel embarrassed or shy about asking for clarification about something your doctor says.
When in doubt, repeat what your doctor has told you and ask if you’ve got it right. You can also ask if they recommend any specific reading materials about your condition.
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What Is Considered High Bp
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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:
|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:
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What Is Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring
If a doctor recommends ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, you will need to wear a blood pressure cuff for 24 hours. It’s connected to a small, portable measuring device that automatically measures your blood pressure at set times and records the readings.
Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is used, for example, to see whether blood pressure levels vary greatly over the course of the day and night or whether they are constantly elevated. During those 24 hours, you can do all of the usual things you would otherwise do over the course of the day. If you are especially active at certain times, you can make a note in a diary. Then the doctor has a better idea of how to interpret the recorded values when evaluating them.
What Steps Should I Take While Checking My Blood Pressure At Home
Before taking your blood pressure
- Find a quiet place.
- Check to be sure you have the correct size cuff. If you are not sure, or if you have questions, talk to your healthcare provider.
- 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 5 to 10 minutes.
- Sit up straight with your back against the chair, legs uncrossed and on the ground.
- Rest your forearm on the table with the palm of your hand facing up.
- You should not talk, read the newspaper, or watch television during this process.
Taking your blood pressure
If you buy a manual or digital blood pressure monitor , follow the instruction booklet carefully.
Record your blood pressure
If you have been asked to record your blood pressure and bring your readings to the office, please write down the date, time of day, systolic and diastolic numbers, heart rate, and which arm you took the reading on. If you are taking part in a program that has remote monitoring, your blood pressure readings are automatically shared with your medical provider. If you are unsure, please ask your provider.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/23/2018.
Why Does Pulse Pressure Matter
The arteries that carry your blood are naturally stretchy and flexible, but they can only hold so much blood at any time. This is called arterial compliance. Your arteries also get less flexible and stretchy as you grow older, which is natural and expected. This is sometimes referred to as arterial stiffness. Arteries also tend to be stiffer in people with diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
Your blood pressure and pulse pressure can be valuable information for your healthcare provider, helping them spot a wide variety of heart and circulatory problems.
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When Should You Monitor Map
Mean arterial pressure is considered to be a better indicator of a tissue perfusion than SBP, precisely because it accounts for the difference between the duration of the diastole and systole parts of the cardiac cycle. Hence, it is typically monitored in cases of organs perfusion. Some of these cases include:
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How The Test Is Performed
Sit in a chair with your back supported. Your legs should be uncrossed, and your feet on the floor.
Your arm should be supported so that your upper arm is at heart level. Roll up your sleeve so that your arm is bare. Be sure the sleeve is not bunched up and squeezing your arm. If it is, take your arm out of the sleeve, or remove the shirt entirely.
You or your provider will wrap the blood pressure cuff snugly around your upper arm. The lower edge of the cuff should be 1 inch above the bend of your elbow.
- The cuff will be inflated quickly. This is done either by pumping the squeeze bulb or pushing a button on the device. You will feel tightness around your arm.
- Next, the valve of the cuff is opened slightly, allowing the pressure to slowly fall.
- As the pressure falls, the reading when the sound of blood pulsing is first heard is recorded. This is the systolic pressure.
- As the air continues to be let out, the sounds will disappear. The point at which the sound stops is recorded. This is the diastolic pressure.
Inflating the cuff too slowly or not inflating it to a high enough pressure may cause a false reading. If you loosen the valve too much, you will not be able to measure your blood pressure.
The procedure may be done two or more times.