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.
S On How To Take A Blood Pressure Manually
1. Perform hand hygiene and gather supplies
- Supplies needed: stethoscope and blood pressure cuff with a sphygmomanometer
- Tip: always use the right size cuff
2. Have the patient sitting or lying down with the arm at heart level. Turn the arm outward with the palm up. Be sure the legs are uncrossed.
- Find the brachial artery:
- This is the most common site for checking the blood pressure and is a major artery in the upper arm that divides into the radial and ulnar artery.
- To find this artery, extend the arm and have the palm facing upward. The pulse point is found near the top of the cubital fossa, which is a triangular area that is in front of the elbow.
3. Place and secure the blood pressure cuff on the patients upper arm. Place it about 2 inches above the elbow. In addition, make sure the arrow on the blood pressure cuff is lined up with the brachial artery. Dont place the blood pressure cuff over clothes or the gown.
4. First, we will estimate the systolic pressure by palpating the brachial artery and inflating the cuff to the point where the pulse disappears. Note that number on the gauge when you no longer feel the brachial artery. Then deflate the cuff and wait 30 to 60 seconds.
5. Place your stethoscope in your ears, palpate the brachial artery again, and place the bell of the stethoscope lightly on the brachial pulse site .
7. Deflate the cuff slowly with the valve .
10. Open the valve completely and let the air leave.
11. Remove the cuff.
What Does My Blood Pressure Reading Mean
Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or lower. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90, you may have something called prehypertension. This means that you are at risk for high blood pressure.
|High blood pressure: Stage 2
|160 or higher
|100 or over
*If you have diabetes or kidney disease, high blood pressure ranges may be lower than for other people. Or, if you are older than 65, goal blood pressure may be higher. Talk to your doctor about what is considered high blood pressure for you.
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Dress Properly And Expose Your Wrist
The wrist cuff should wrap around your skin and not over any clothes. This will allow the monitor to receive the best signal from your blood vessels as possible. Also, consider wearing a short sleeve shirt or a sleeve that can easily be moved up your forearm and out of the way.
A looser more comfortable sleeve would be best, so it doesnt have to be tight or uncomfortable after its moved up your arm.
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How It Works: Diastolic
Thats the top reading. But Becker and others are also listening for something else.
As the blood starts to run off, it makes a tapping sound, a dull tapping sound and the blood disappears, says Ferdinand.
Some describe it as a swooshing sound that then fades out.
And when that sound disappears, thats the diastolic or the lower blood pressure, he says.
When everything goes silent again, when your heart is at rest in between beats, thats the diastolic pressure. Its the lower reading, or the 80, if your blood pressure is 120 over 80.
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Instructions For Case Studies
In our case studies you will be able to use a blood pressure cuff simulator. Using it is similar to using an actual cuff. Follow these steps: 1) Inflate the cuff by pressing the ‘Inflate Cuff’ button several times 2) Deflate the cuff by selecting one of the ‘Open Valve’ settings 3) Close the valve 4) Read the blood pressure values while listening for Korotkoff Sounds 5) Switch between dial and mercury sphygmomanometers 6) Please note that the image to the left is not a working simulation. It is an image for instructions only. Use our cases for the working simulation.
How Often Should You Take Your Blood Pressure
Scinetist from Harvard Medical School recommend you to take your blood pressure twice a day for a week. The first reading should take place early in the morning, before taking any medication, and the second, later in the evening. Then, keep on doing it twice a month, unless your doctor advice you differently.
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How To Measure Blood Pressure
Blood pressure levels change over the course of time. They can also change according to physical or mental conditions, the measurement environment, or other factors. Its also nearly impossible to get accurate readings unless you follow the correct procedures. So make sure to measure your blood pressure correctly and keep a record of your readings.
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How To Take Orthostatic Blood Pressure
Orthostatic hypotension is a medical term for the decrease in systolic and diastolic pressure withing three minutes of the pactient standing as compared with blood pressure taken while sitted. For taking orthistatic blood pressure using a cuff you will have to follow the steps ennuerated above, but also repeat the reading after standing 3 minutes. Dont forget about the pulse rate measurements too.
It is also important to:
- Take your blood pressure twice a day first in the morning, before breakfast but never right after you wake up and then in the evening. Compare the measurements to see how your blood pressure fluctuates after a day of work.
- Always record you readings and inform your doctor on the values you get. From time to time pay his or her a visit and check your measurements against theirs.
Learn that there are various ways to check your blood pressure at home. Now that you have discovered the essential steps concerning how to take blood pressure with cuff correctly, lets take a look at less popular or even unefficient ways to do it.
- How to take blood pressure with fingers
Unlike the popular belief that blood pressure can be determined by using your fingers, such measurement is totally inneffectual. On the other hand, you can use your fingers to check your pulse. Place your first and second fingertips on your arteries and as soon as you have felt your pulse begin counting the beats for 60 seconds.
- How to take blood pressure on leg
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Misdiagnosis Of High Or Low Blood Pressure
First Ill explain how taking your pressure only on one wrist can miss a diagnosis of high blood pressure. Lets say you only check the left wrist and your readings are always 119/79. Unknown to you, the pressure in your right wrist is 131/83 which indicates your blood pressure is high 4.
Now in the same scenario lets say the pressure in your right wrist is 107/69. Since youre only checking the left wrist you wouldnt know the pressure in the other wrist is lower. While 107/69 is not considered low pressure, it wouldnt warn you of a potential pattern towards low blood pressure.
Failure to measure and record your measurements in both arms may help prevent a diagnosis of low or high blood pressure. At your next physician visit, the doctor would only be given part of your actual blood pressure patterns and recordings and not the complete picture.
Heres an interesting story. A 69 year-old woman was admitted into the hospital for surgery. Different nurses measured her pressure at different times and each nurse used a different arm. Her second reading was so much lower, they assumed her blood pressure dropped and thought her body was reacting to an infection. Little did they know at the time, her pressure never lowered and remained consistent. The pressure was lower in one arm and higher in the other.
How Often Should You Calibrate Your Blood Pressure Cuff
Depending on which source you refer to, the suggestions of how often you should calibrate an aneroid sphygmomanometer range from every six months to every two years. All types of blood pressure cuffs should be calibrated at least yearly, even mercury sphygmomanometer.
But for aneroid sphygmomanometers, the general recommendation is every 6 months. This is also a good standard for digital models as well rather than just relying on the self-diagnostic tools.
We have gone to the heart of the manner and detail how you can calibrate your aneroid and digital sphygmomanometers. Keep your blood pressure cuff clean, maintained, and calibrated to keep your patients healthy, safe, and happy.
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The Sounds Of Blood Pressure: What Are We Listening For
Ever wonder what doctors and nurses are listening for when they are manually taking your blood pressure?
Blood pressure. Its one of the most important measurements in medicine. And yet, taking it correctly is kind of an art. Its fluid, it changes, and it can be impacted by something as simple as being at the doctors office.
How To Tell If Your Blood Pressure Cuff Isnt Calibrated
Aneroid sphygmomanometers are the most commonly used type of blood pressure cuff by healthcare professionals and the general public alike.
They work by using a spring mechanism, gears, and a metal diaphragm to measure the pressure changes against the air bladder in the arm cuff. Thats a lot of moving parts and are prone to get knocked out of calibration or being worn out.
But there is an easy way to check to see if its out of whack looking to see if its zeroed. At the bottom of the dial, the gauge is an oval marking. That represents zero.
When the air bladder is fully deflated, the needle should point directly through the middle of this oval. If its outside of the oval, either higher or lower it means you arent zeroed and are getting incorrect readings.
HOWEVER: While this is a quick way to see if your aneroid blood pressure cuff is off, it isnt 100% percent accurate. Even if the needle is in the oval, it could still be off.
Thats why you need to test your aneroid sphygmomanometer against a reference standard a manometer of known accuracy, usually a mercury sphygmomanometer.
Digital blood pressure cuffs are a bit different in that they have internal diagnostic programs to calibrate themselves. Most models have an alert or alarm to let you know that you need to run the calibration program.
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Performing A Manual Blood Pressure
This is an example of one of the skills included in “The Nursing Toolbox”. This particular skill page relates to “Performing a Manual Blood Pressure”, however there are many more skills available once you subscribe to “The Nursing Toolbox”.
Please remember to scroll right to the bottom of this page to view the accompanying video!
What Do You Need In Taking A Blood Pressure
Stethoscope – If you are a beginner, it is preferred that you use a good quality stethoscope because the sounds are easy to miss if you arent used to them.
Manual blood pressure cuff with a sphygmomanometer – One more time, sfeeg-mo-mano-meter. There ya go!
The first thing you’re going to want to do is to find the brachial artery.
To find that, locate the front part of your elbow or what we call the Antecubital Fossa and feel your pulse located a little to the side of the midline.
Try practicing locating this pulse on both of your arms and familiarize where it is positioned.
It is easy to find the brachial pulse in healthy people, but harder to find in the emaciated, the overweight and the elderly. So what I normally do is I take my stethoscope, put it in the middle of the Antecubital Fossa, move it to the side a little bit, and try to listen to it.
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Stride Bp A New International Expert Organisation Will Help You Chose The Right Home Blood Pressure Monitor For You
High blood pressure or hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Left untreated it can cause you to have a heart attack or debilitating stroke, it can also increase your risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimers disease in later life.
Therefore, it is vital that if you suffer from high blood pressure and are thinking of purchasing a BP monitor to measure your blood pressure at home, that you select the right device.
With so many different devices available it can be confusing to know which is the best home BP monitor for you. The good news is that an international non-profit organization STRIDE-BPhas been recently established with the mission to improve the accuracy of BP measurement and the diagnosis of high blood pressure.
Please remember that your home monitor will need to be re-calibrated every one to two years, please check the manufacturer guidelines for information on this.
High blood pressure or hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke
A healthy blood pressure
Two numbers are used to measure the level of your blood pressure. One number records blood pressure when the pressure is at its highest i.e. as the heart muscle squeezes the blood out of your heart this is called systolic pressure.
How to measure your blood pressure at home
How Do I Take My Bp
You can take your BP at home with a digital BP monitor. Read the instructions that came with your BP monitor. The monitor comes with an adjustable cuff. Ask your healthcare provider if your cuff is the correct size.
- Do not eat, drink, smoke, or exercise for 30 minutes before you take your BP.
- Rest quietly for 5 minutes before you take your BP.
- Sit with your feet flat on the floor and your back against a chair.
- Extend your arm and support it on a flat surface. Your arm should be at the same level as your heart.
- Make sure all of the air is out of the cuff. Place the BP cuff against your bare skin about 1 inch above your elbow. Wrap the cuff snugly around your arm. The BP reading may not be correct if the cuff is too loose.
- If you are using a wrist cuff, wrap the cuff snugly around your wrist. Hold your wrist at the same level as your heart.
- Turn on the BP monitor and follow the directions.
- Write down your BP, the date, the time, and which arm you used to take the BP. Take your BP 2 times and write down both readings. Use the same arm each time. These BP readings can be 1 minute apart.
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What Is Blood Pressure And How Is It Measured
The heart supplies the organs and tissues of the body with blood. With every beat, it pumps blood into the large blood vessels of the circulatory system. As the blood moves around the body, it puts pressure on the walls of the vessels. Blood pressure readings are made up of two values:
- Systolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart beats while the heart muscle is contracting and pumping oxygen-rich blood into the blood vessels.
- Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure on the blood vessels when the heart muscle relaxes. The diastolic pressure is always lower than the systolic pressure.
Blood pressure is measured in units of millimeters of mercury . The readings are always given in pairs, with the upper value first, followed by the lower value.
So someone who has a reading of 132/88 mmHg has a
- systolic blood pressure of 132 mmHg, and a
- diastolic blood pressure of 88 mmHg.
Youre Not Factoring In Electronic Units Correctly
Electronic blood pressure units also called Non Invasive Blood Pressure machines, sense air pressure changes in the cuff caused by blood flowing through the BP cuff extremity. Sensors estimate the Mean Arterial Pressure and the patients pulse rate. Software in the machine uses these two values to calculate the systolic and diastolic BP.
To assure accuracy from electronic units, it is important to verify the displayed pulse with an actual patient pulse. Differences of more than 10 percent will seriously alter the units calculations and produce incorrect systolic and diastolic values on the display screen.
Given that MAP is the only pressure actually measured by an NIBP, and since MAP varies little throughout the body, it makes sense to use this number for treatment decisions.
A normal adult MAP ranges from 70 to 105 mmHg. As the organ most sensitive to pressure, the kidneys typically require an MAP above 60 to stay alive, and sustain irreversible damage beyond 20 minutes below that in most adults. Because individual requirements vary, most clinicians consider a MAP of 70 as a reasonable lower limit for their adult patients.
Finally, and especially in the critical care transport environment, providers will encounter patients with significant variations between NIBP and arterial line measured blood pressure values.
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