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.
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What Is The Best Way To Measure Blood Pressure
The most accurate way to measure blood pressure is using a sphygmomanometer and stethoscope. When you get your blood pressure measured at a medical office, your doctor uses a sphygmomanometer that includes a dial or column, pump, arm cuff, and stethoscope:
- The cuff is wrapped around your arm while your arm is kept at the same level as your heart.
- The pump tightens the cuff around your arm, putting pressure on the artery.
- Your doctor then releases the pressure and uses a stethoscope to measure your pulse rate.
- Your doctor records the pressure on the dial as your blood starts to flow back to your arm and checks two measurement points to determine your blood pressure reading.
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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.
Keep Your Wrist Cuff At Heart Level
Not keeping your wrist cuff at heart level is probably the biggest mistake people make. If the cuff is below heart level, its easy to get a false reading too high. If your wrist cuff is above heart level, your readings can be false to the low side.
The best way to make sure your cuff is at heart level is the positioning of your arm. If you dont have a table to rest your elbow on, start with your upper arm hanging straight down close to your side.
Then bend your elbow, raising your forearm up and across your chest until your wrist cuff is level with your heart. Keep your upper arm down and close to your side as shown in the image below.
Some wrist monitors have a heart level sensor. The wrist monitor I highly recommend has a built in heart level guidance feature. You can check it out on Amazon by . I also wrote a whole blog post on it and why I think its the best wrist monitor which you can read right here.
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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
Go To The Toilet Before You Wish To Measure Your Blood Pressure Otherwise The Values May Be Altered
Next, if you want to learn how to take a blood pressure manually, without assistance, it is essential to follow a few simple instructions.
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How Does A Blood Pressure Monitor Work
Blood pressure is measured using a sphygmomanometer, or blood pressure monitor. It consists of an inflatable cuff thats wrapped around your arm, roughly level with your heart, and a monitoring device that measures the cuffs pressure.
The monitor measures two pressures: systolic, and diastolic. Systolic pressure is higher, occurring when your heart beats and pushes blood through the arteries, and diastolic pressure is measured when your heart is resting and filling with blood. So, for example, your blood pressure might be 120 over 80.
Blood pressure monitors may be manual or digital, but home monitors are usually digital and the whole measurement process is automatic apart from placing the cuff around your arm.
The cuff then inflates until it fits tightly around your arm, cutting off your blood flow, and then the valve opens to deflate it. As the cuff reaches your systolic pressure, blood begins to flow around your artery. This creates a vibration thats detected by the meter, which records your systolic pressure. In a traditional analogue sphygmomanometer, the blood sounds are detected by the doctor using a stethoscope.
As the cuff continues to deflate, it reaches your diastolic pressure, and the vibration stops. The meter senses this, and records the pressure again.
How To Check Your Blood Pressure At Home
Follow expert advice and a step-by-step video to ensure youre getting the most accurate numbers.
This post is part of a mini blog series dedicated to bringing awareness about your heart health during the American Heart Association’s national #HeartMonth. Miss the other stories? Catch up on 5 Eating Tips for a Healthy Heart, How to Know If You’re Having a Heart Attack, 10 Heart Tests Your Doctor Might Order and What They Mean and Getting Heart Healthy with a Mediterranean Diet.
To check your blood pressure, you just switch on a portable monitor and put a cuff on your arm, right? Actually, theres a little more to it than that, says cardiology nurse practitioner Tiffany Luke.
Its important people properly and closely monitor their blood pressure as this is how we determine therapy, Luke explains.
First things first: What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure, medically known as hypertension, can be caused by weight gain, alcohol and salt intake, older age and/or a family history. According to the CDC, about 75 million American adults have high blood pressure. Referred to as the silent killer, its not a reading that should be taken lightly. Controlling or lowering blood pressure can help prevent or delay high blood pressure complications including heart attack, stroke, atrial fibrillation and chronic kidney disease, says Luke.
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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.
Are There Differences Between Taking A Blood Pressure Reading On The Right Arm Vs Left Arm
Blood pressure measurement values vary from the left arm to the right arm. The average is generally within 10 mmHg for most individuals. Omron home blood pressure monitors are generally designed for use on the left arm as they are validated through clinical studies using the left arm. You should talk to your doctor before using the right arm to take a measurement.
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How To Take Blood Pressure Manually
This article was co-authored by Michael Corsilles, ND. Dr. Corsilles is a Naturopath and a Physician Assistant in Washington. He completed his Naturopathic medical training at Bastyr University in 2003, and received his Physician Assistant certification from the University of Washington in 2010.There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 15 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 574,893 times.
If you or someone you know is at risk for high or low blood pressure, you may want to invest in a manual blood pressure kit for home use. Learning how to take your blood pressure manually may take a little practice, but it is actually quite easy once you learn how. You’ll need to know what to wear, when to take your blood pressure, how to take it accurately, and how to interpret the results. With a little practice you’ll know how to find your systolic and diastolic pressure readings and what those numbers actually mean.
Measuring Your Blood Pressure
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Keep A Log Of Your Blood Pressure Readings
Keeping a record of your readings is important and allows you to bring them to your doctor on your next visit. Most wrist cuff monitors have a built-in memory or a phone app where they can be stored.
If your monitor doesnt have a memory feature, then keep a written record. Whichever way you track your readings, I suggest you bring the monitor with you on your next doctor visit so you can follow step #11.
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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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How To Interpret The Blood Pressure Reading
American College of Cardiology 2017 Updated Guidelines for High Blood Pressure:
- Normal BP- SBP: < 120 DBP: < 80 mm Hg
- Elevated BP- SBP: 120-129 DBP: < 80 mm Hg
- Hypertension Stage 1- SBP: 130-139 or DBP: 80-89 mm Hg
- Hypertension Stage 2- SBP: 140 or DBP: 90 mm Hg
For a patient to be diagnosed as having hypertension, they need an average reading based on 2 readings or more that are obtained on 2 or more occasions.
Common Causes Of Inaccurate Readings
A number of factors can affect your blood pressure and heart rate. If your numbers are unusually high or low, make some adjustments before trying again:
- Stress. When youre worried, stress hormones temporarily elevate both your blood pressure and heart rate. Avoid stressors before checking your blood pressure at home.
- Drug and alcohol use. Tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine can affect your numbers, so avoid stimulants and depressants.
- Other medicines. Talk with your doctor about prescription and over-the-counter medicines that may interfere with an accurate reading.
Once you determine your heart rate and blood pressure, record them in a journal or app. Try taking your pulse and checking your blood pressure around the same time every day to establish a personalized baseline. Its that baseline your doctor will use to help you determine what your numbers mean.
To schedule a comprehensive heart screening, visit UPMCs Heart and Vascular Institute.
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Before You Measure Your Blood Pressure
- Avoid things that can raise your blood pressure in the short term. Dont measure your blood pressure within half an hour of eating, smoking, drinking caffeinated drinks such as coffee, or exercising. These can all raise your blood pressure temporarily. If you need to use the toilet, go before you measure your blood pressure.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes. Wear a short-sleeved t-shirt or something with sleeves you can push up easily, nothing tight. This is so that you can fit the cuff around your arm.
- Rest for five minutes before you take your reading. Sit down somewhere quiet, ideally at a desk or table. Have your back supported with your arm resting on a firm surface and your feet flat on the floor. Stay in this position while you take your blood pressure.
- Make sure your arm is supported and at the same level as your heart. Position yourself so that your arm is resting on a surface and is at the same height as your heart. Keep your arm and hand relaxed, not tensed.
- Make sure you are relaxed and comfortable. If you are anxious or uncomfortable, your blood pressure will rise temporarily.