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How To Measure Your Blood Pressure

What Happens During A Blood Pressure Test

How to measure your blood pressure

A blood pressure test includes the following steps:

  • You will sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  • You will rest your arm on a table or other surface, so your arm is level with your heart. You may be asked to roll up your sleeve.
  • Your provider will wrap a blood pressure cuff around your arm. A blood pressure cuff is a strap-like device. It should fit snugly around your upper arm, with the bottom edge placed just above your elbow.
  • Your provider will inflate the blood pressure cuff using a small hand pump or by pressing a button on an automated device.
  • Your provider will measure the pressure manually or with an automated device.
  • If manually, he or she will place a stethoscope over the major artery in your upper arm to listen to the blood flow and pulse as the cuff inflates and deflates.
  • If using an automated device, the blood pressure cuff automatically inflates, deflates, and measures pressure.
  • As the blood pressure cuff inflates, you’ll feel it tighten around your arm.
  • Your provider will then open a valve on the cuff to slowly release air from it. As the cuff deflates, blood pressure will fall.
  • As the pressure falls, a measurement is taken when the sound of blood pulsing is first heard. This is the systolic pressure.
  • As the air continues to be let out, the blood pulsing sound will start to go away. When it completely stops, another measurement is taken. This is the diastolic pressure.
  • This test only takes about one minute to complete.

    How To Measure Your Blood Pressure In Eight Steps

  • Don’t exercise, have a bath, smoke, or drink coffee, tea, cola or other stimulating drinks for a couple of hours before you plan to take a measurement.
  • Sit comfortably at a table.
  • Remove watches, jewellery or anything that may interfere with the measurement, and have a bare arm or wrist .
  • Make sure you’re comfortable relax for a few minutes before you start.
  • Ensure you take measurements using the same arm each time, as your blood pressure is different in each arm.
  • If you’re using an arm monitor, put on the cuff so that its centre is at heart height and your arm is resting on the table. If you’re using a wrist monitor, put on the cuff and raise the wrist to heart height.
  • Follow the monitor’s instructions and take two measurements within a couple of minutes of each other. If they differ by more than 10mmHg , take a third measurement.
  • Keep a record of all results, and make a note of events that might explain an unusual result .
  • Read more: High blood pressure or white-coat hypertension?

    Earn Rewards By Measuring Your Blood Pressure

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    If you measure your blood pressure using the instructions below for 1 day , you will receive a $50 gift card!

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    The time of your morning and evening measurement depends on your schedule. To earn a reward, and provide your best report, the measurements must be at least 6 hours a part.Each participating member will have until October 19, 2021 to complete their measurement to earn a reward.

    Also Check: What Size Blood Pressure Cuff Do I Need

    Looking For Blood Pressure Monitors

    We’ve tested to find you the best.

    Blood pressure is created by the heart pumping blood through the arteries. It’s measured in millimetres of mercury , and given as two numbers 120/80 mmHg, for example, or ‘120 over 80’.

    The first number is what’s called systolic pressure, caused by your contracting heart. The second number is what’s called diastolic pressure, and is the pressure between beats when your heart relaxes.

    High blood pressure, or hypertension, can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and kidney disease. When weighing up your risk, your GP will consider factors such as your age, sex, family history and weight, and whether or not you smoke.

    What Does Arrhythmia Mean

    Tips to Measure Your Blood Pressure Correctly

    Arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats. As the name suggests, these are heartbeats that occur outside of the normal rhythm or the absence of a heartbeat. Possible causes include the consumption of substances such as alcohol and caffeine, but also infections and dangerous heart diseases. Make sure to consult a doctor if you have arrhythmia!

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    How To Understand Your Blood Pressure Results At Home

    Home»How to Understand your Blood Pressure Results at Home

    Hypertension affects over one million adults in the U.S. alone. When your blood pressure is elevated, it can greatly increase the risk of developing other health problems like heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

    Blood pressure measures the force of blood flow through arteries carrying blood throughout the body. The force from the heart beating pumps blood through the arteries, which causes the arteries to repeatedly expand and contract, like a balloon being squeezed and released.

    For most people, learning that you have high blood pressure means making diet and lifestyle changes, and potentially starting medication. However, did you know that where and how your blood pressure is measured can make a big difference?

    Blood Pressure Monitors With Bluetooth

    A trusted alternative for monitoring blood pressure on the iPhone are blood pressure monitors with Bluetooth and Apple Health Integration. These devices typically deliver blood pressure readings via Bluetooth to the chosen health apps, which in turn can be shared with apps like Cora Health using the Apple Health interface.

    Here you can find a list of recommended blood pressure monitors

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    You Should Pay Attention To This When Buying A Blood Pressure Monitor

    Once you have decided on a device class, there are a few important points to consider:

    The fit of the cuff: the cuff of the blood pressure monitor must fit around your wrist or your upper arm. If it does not do this, the measurement is incorrect. The manufacturers usually specify the minimum and maximum circumference of the cuff. In some cases, there are special sizes, for example for particularly thin wrists, or devices with two cuffs in different sizes. In any case, you should measure beforehand or test the device first.

    An easy-to-read display: some blood pressure monitors only show the measurement result and leave the assessment to the user. This is often sufficient, especially if you take the blood pressure measurement on the advice of your doctor. However, devices that use a simple color code to classify the measured values from good to bad on the display are helpful.

    The memory for the measurement results: The internal memory can usually store at least 30 measurement results, but with intensive use, you may need more space, 90 and more single carriers are ideal here. If several users use the same device for measurement, two separate memories are an advantage, which is also offered by many blood pressure monitors. In addition, average or mean values can be formed from several results.

    Why Do I Need A Blood Pressure Test

    How to Measure Your Blood Pressure with a Home Monitor

    A blood pressure measurement is often included as part of a regular checkup. Adults 18 years and older should have their blood pressure measured at least once every two to five years. You should get tested every year if you have certain risk factors. You may be at higher risk if you:

    • Are 40 years old or older
    • Are overweight or have obesity
    • Are Black/African American. Black/African Americans have a higher rate of high blood pressure than other racial and ethnic groups

    You may need this test if you have symptoms of low blood pressure.

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    Understanding Your Blood Pressure Reading

    Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury and is given as 2 figures:

    • systolic pressure the pressure when your heart pushes blood out
    • diastolic pressure the pressure when your heart rests between beats

    For example, if your blood pressure is “140 over 90” or 140/90mmHg, it means you have a systolic pressure of 140mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 90mmHg.

    As a general guide:

    • normal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
    • high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher
    • low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower

    A blood pressure reading between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you don’t take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.

    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.

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    About Heart And Vascular Institute

    The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute has long been a leader in cardiovascular care, with a rich history in clinical research and innovation. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the country and as the developer of one of the first heart-assist devices, UPMC has contributed to advancing the field of cardiovascular medicine.

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    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.

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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.

    Do I Need To Use A Blood Pressure Checker

    You may not need a blood pressure checker for every reading, but it will help manage blood pressure health. As you become familiar with your readings, using a blood pressure checker will advise how to improve and maintain healthy blood pressure.

    The blood pressure calculator can be accessed via desktop, tablet or mobile.

    If you have questions about taking blood pressure or using the blood pressure checker, contact us. If you are concerned about your reading after using this blood pressure calculator or any other blood pressure checker, seek medical advice.

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    Buy A Blood Pressure Monitor

    Pharmacies and online merchants sell a variety of blood pressure monitors. Monitors typically range in price from $50 to $100, although a higher price doesn’t necessarily correlate to better quality. Ask your health insurance company whether it will cover part or all of the cost.

    When shopping for a blood pressure monitor, look for these features:

    • Buy a monitor that goes around your upper arm. Dr. Zusman doesn’t recommend wrist or finger monitors because they aren’t as accurate.

    • An automatic monitor is easiest to use, because it doesn’t require a stethoscope and the cuff inflates by itself. Manual monitors require you to squeeze a bulb to inflate the cuff, which can be hard to do if you have arthritis.

    • Choose a monitor that meets standards for your age and health conditions according to an organization such as the European Society of Hypertension, dabl Educational Trust, or the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation . Each organization has posted its list of approved devices on its website.

    • Make sure the cuff fits your arm. If it’s too large or too small, the reading won’t be accurate.

    • Check that the numbers on the dial or display are large enough for you to read clearly.

    • Determine what other features you want in a blood pressure monitor. Some monitors will take an average of your last few readings, record your measurements over time, and send them to your doctor via your smartphone.

    Instruments For Taking Blood Pressure And Their Parts

    How to measure your own blood pressure

    The Instruments for measuring blood pressure include

    • A stethoscope
    • A sphygmomanometer
    • A timer or a stopwatch

    Parts Of A Stethoscope And Functions

    • Ear Plugs: Also known as ear tips. It is the part of the stethoscope which is placed on the examinerâs ear.
    • Diaphragm: This is the wider part of the other end of the stethoscope. It is ideally used for checking blood pressure, detecting breathing as well as normal heart rhythms.
    • The Bell: It is the smaller side of the other end of a stethoscope and is ideal for detecting abnormal heart sounds , bruits, and bowel sounds.
    • The other parts of the stethoscope such as the rubber and metallic tubing, binaural spring, and drum only play roles of sound conduction.

    Parts Of A Mercury Sphygmomanometer And Functions

    • Mercury Gauge: Use to take blood pressure readings
    • Hand Bulb: Used in inflating the cuff of the stethoscope
    • Tubing: Serves as a conductor for the air
    • Release Valve : Used in controlling the mercury gauge
    • Mercury Bulb: Used in locking and unlocking the mercury

    Parts Of An Aneroid Sphygmomanometer

    The aneroid sphygmomanometer is similar to the mercury type, but the only difference is that the mercury gauge seen in the mercury sphygmomanometer is replaced by the aneroid manometer gauge.

    The Digital Sphygmomanometer

    The digital sphygmomanometer has a simplistic design. It has no hand bulb release valve or screw, the function of the screw and the hand bulb is coordinated by the Digital Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor.

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    How To Read Your Blood Pressure Measurements

    Your blood pressure is given in two numbers:

    • Systolic blood pressure: This is the first number listed on your BP reading and measures the pressure that your blood exerts against the walls of your arteries. A normal systolic reading should be less than 120 mm Hg.
    • Diastolic blood pressure: This is the second number listed in your BP reading, which measures the force of the blood against your artery walls when your heart is resting between beats. A normal diastolic reading is less than 80 mm Hg.
    • Pulse: The pulse refers to the number of beats per minute your heart is beating. A normal adult pulse rate is between 60 to 100 beats per minute.

    The top number is the higher of the two. When checking your blood pressure, your doctor will typically read out a vital sign thats in the normal range of 120/80 mmHg or below. Anything above that could be a sign of an underlying health condition.

    Image source: American Heart Association

    How To Get The Most Accurate Blood Pressure Reading

    Blood-pressure readings may seem arcane at first glance, but you dont need medical training to make sense of them. Simply put, the first number, known as the systolic pressure, represents how much force is on your veins when your heart pumps. The second number, the diastolic pressure, shows how much force remains in between heartbeats.

    As these numbers rise, so does your risk of cardiovascular events. The Public Health Agency of Canada considers values of less than 120/80 in adults to be optimal and 120 to 129/80 to 84 to be normal. High-normal, 130 to 139/85 to 89, is the range where it may be worth changing your lifestyle , though your cardiovascular risk probably isnt great enough to justify medication.

    Values of 140/90 and higher are considered hypertension, a situation where lifestyle interventions are highly recommended and taking drugs is usually worth the risk. For home readings, however, the threshold is 135/85: you tend to be more relaxed in the comfort of your own space than at the doctors office.

    Your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day due to factors such as stress levels, caffeine intake and physical activity. Therefore, doctors wont usually diagnose hypertension after just one test. Instead, they might ask you to use a home-monitoring device or come back another day to see if your results are still the same.

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