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How To Read A Blood Pressure Machine

What About Blood Pressure Thats Too Low

Taking a Blood Pressure Reading with the Welch Allyn Connex® Vital Signs Monitor

Low blood pressure is known as hypotension. In adults, a blood pressure reading of 90/60 mm Hg or below is often considered hypotension.

Hypotension can be dangerous because blood pressure thats too low doesnt supply your body and heart with enough oxygenated blood.

Some potential causes of hypotension can include:

  • heart problems

Types Of Blood Pressure

Now that you know what each number means, it is important to know what reading depicts a healthy blood pressure. Here are the types of blood pressure as distinguished by the Government of Canada:

  • Optimal Blood Pressure = Below 120 systolic blood pressure, and below 80 diastolic blood pressure
  • Normal Blood Pressure = Below 130 systolic blood pressure, and below 85 diastolic blood pressure
  • Normal to High Blood Pressure = Between 130-139 systolic blood pressure, and between 85-89 diastolic blood pressure
  • High Blood Pressure = At or above 140 systolic blood pressure, and at or above 90 diastolic blood pressure
  • NOTE: Individuals with high blood pressure will also hear the term hypertension which is another word for high blood pressure. This blood pressure rate may be different for those who have kidney disease or diabetes.

When you measure your blood pressure, knowing the systolic and diastolic numbers will help you determine if your blood pressure is healthy or not. If your blood pressure is higher, be sure to consult a doctor for determining future actions you should take.

Reading Blood Pressure: Were We Taught Wrong

In nursing school, we were taught to only take the blood pressure reading on the very first try and if we could not get it accurately, we were to wait for a few minutes to take it again. We were taught this not because it was in the books. We were taught this because this is the way our instructors were taught.

There was no research based practice. It was simply the belief at the time. Unfortunately, it leads to an inaccurate blood pressure reading.

Further complicating this, many do not accurately read the blood pressure because of failing to do the way they were taught.

You may see the nurses aids, although taught how to read the blood pressure cuff, they too will do it wrong. You will see blood pressures taken on the wrist and on patients soon after they got bad news like they could not go home because their blood pressure is too high or while in unattended pain.

Add to this a wrong size cuff and the wrong blood pressure reading continues in hospitals around the world. Rarely will you see multiple cuffs used on a floor. Usually it is one size fits all, not quite the way it is taught in schools.

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Blood Pressure Range Explained

When you use a blood pressure monitor to take your blood pressure, you are measuring the pressure of your blood against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps it around your body.

Your blood pressure range is measured in millimeters of mercury and is recorded as systolic and diastolic figures. But what’s the difference?

  • Systolic pressure is the pressure of the blood when your heart pushes it out.
  • Diastolic pressure is the pressure of the blood when your heart is resting between beats.

If your GP tells you that your blood pressure is ‘130 over 90’, or 130/90mmHg, you have a systolic pressure of 130mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 90mmHg.

According to advice on the NHS website, a blood pressure reading between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure. To avoid this, you need to take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.

What Does The Systolic Blood Pressure Number Mean

Blood Pressure Monitor

When your heart beats, it squeezes and pushes blood through your arteries to the rest of your body. This force creates pressure on those blood vessels, and that’s your systolic blood pressure.

Hereâs how to understand your systolic blood pressure number:

  • Normal: Below 120
  • Stage 1 high blood pressure : 130-139
  • Stage 2 hypertension: 140 or more
  • Hypertensive crisis: 180 or more. Call 911.

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When And Where To Get Your Blood Pressure Tested

You should have a blood pressure test if you’re worried about your blood pressure at any time.

If you’re over 40, you can have this test done as part of an NHS Health Check, which is offered to adults in England aged 40 to 74 every 5 years.

If you have been diagnosed with high or low blood pressure, or you have a high risk of developing either, you may need more frequent checks of your blood pressure.

You can get your blood pressure tested at a number of places, including:

  • your local GP surgery
  • some workplaces

Reading Blood Pressure: A New Paradigm

Dr. Batmanghelidj proposed a new paradigm in reading blood pressure. There is no science supporting current methods of blood pressure reading. There is no research demonstrating that Dr. B’s suggestion is correct. But considering that what he says is true, it seems logical that it is time for a change in the way we read blood pressures.

When it comes to reading blood pressure on patients, many times the professionals do not do it right. If they do not do it right and they are teaching others how to do it, how accurate can the readings be?

This is to guide you in how to get a proper reading from a blood pressure cuff and correct blood pressure monitoring.

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How To Read An Aneroid Sphygmomanometer

An aneroid sphygmomanometer is a more secured alternate to other blood pressure monitors. Also, this one is dependable and reliable and has been deliberated to be very accurate. It is also becoming more popular compared to mercury BP devices especially in hospitals and medical clinics. This is a device that has been created to be as durable and accurate as any other competitors. The competition can also be a good way for medical industries to work harder and discover new efficient devices in monitoring blood pressures.

This blood pressure monitor is inexpensive yet works competently which results to a high-quality

diagnostic capability. It consists of a needle that doesnt discontinue or hamper

performance, an adjustable Velcro cuff, a metal inflation valve and a durable case to protect

the device from any untoward damage.

Follow these simple steps for reading

First, check on the cuff that it is of the proper size. Then, wrap it around the upper

portion of the arm just beyond the elbow. It should fit just right to have an accurate

reading. A smaller or bigger cuff can greatly affect the results.

Take a comfortable seat and rest easy with arms flat on the table. Feet should also be

flat on the floor.

Look for the brachial artery and place the stethoscope over it.

Now, you can begin to inflate the cuff by squeezing the bulb just approximately 30

points beyond the recent systolic results.

sound that you hear. This represents the systolic blood pressure.

How To Read A Hospital Heart Monitor

Easy Blood Pressure, Understanding your blood pressure reading.

A heart monitor, also known as an EKG, ECG or electrocardiogram, displays the electrical activity of the heart. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are required to undergo many hours of training in EKG interpretation prior to using an EKG as a guideline to administer, adjust or prescribe treatments. The average person, on the other hand, can learn the basics for purely academic or interest purposes or as a building block for further study.

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What Does A Blood Pressure Reading Look Like

When you have your , you will be given two numbers, a top number and a bottom number.

  • Systolic blood pressure. This is the first, or top, number. This is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats, forcing blood around your body.
  • Diastolic blood pressure. The second number, or bottom number, is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats.

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury . If the first number is 120 and the second number is 80, this would be written as 120/80mmHg, and youd call it 120 over 80.

This video explains more about systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

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.

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Where Can I Get My Blood Pressure Checked

You can get your blood pressure measured

  • By a health care team member at a doctors office.
  • At a pharmacy that has a digital blood pressure measurement machine.
  • With a home blood pressure monitor that you can use yourself.

Take this form pdf icon with you on your first blood pressure visit to record important blood pressure-related information.

Your Readings Exhibit Prejudice

Blood Pressure Cuff Wrist

Prejudice for normal readings significantly contributes to inaccuracies in blood pressure measurement. No doubt, youd be suspicious if a fellow EMT reported blood pressures of 120/80 on three patients in a row. As creatures of habit, human beings expect to hear sounds at certain times and when extraneous interference makes a blood pressure difficult to obtain, there is considerable tendency to hear a normal blood pressure.

Orthostatic hypotension is defined as a decrease in systolic blood pressure of 20 mm Hg or more, or diastolic blood pressure decrease of 10 mm Hg or more measured after three minutes of standing quietly.

There are circumstances when BP measurement is simply not possible. For many years, trauma resuscitation guidelines taught that rough estimates of systolic BP could be made by assessing pulses. Presence of a radial pulse was thought to correlate with an SBP of at least 80 mm Hg, a femoral pulse with an SBP of at least 70, and a palpable carotid pulse with an SBP over 60. In recent years, vascular surgery and trauma studies have shown this method to be poorly predictive of actual blood pressure .

Noise is a factor that can also interfere with BP measurement. Many ALS units carry doppler units that measure blood flow with ultrasound waves. Doppler units amplify sound and are useful in high noise environments.

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Blood Pressure Machine Chart

Blood Pressure Machine Chart A chart of blood pressure is an effective tool to determine the blood pressure. The numbers in this chart reflect the amount of pressure inside your blood vessels. Many other diseases are linked to high blood pressure levels. High blood pressure readings can be more indicative of a heart attack as opposed to readings in normal levels. Blood Pressure Machine Chart, Although your blood pressure can fluctuate, a standard reading of 120/80 mm Hg can be considered to be normal.

A blood pressure chart is an important tool to aid in identifying your risk of having high blood pressure. The chart displays the ideal range of pressure for adults. The chart also highlights the ideal diet and workout. Blood Pressure Machine Chart, The use of a blood pressure monitor at home is another option. Its easy to put away, can be attached to a mirror or refrigerator and is able to be carried everywhere you travel. A blood pressure log allows you to keep track of your workout food, diet, and stress.

What Factors Affect Blood Pressure

If you currently have a healthy blood pressure, you want to work to keep it that way! You can take action towards promoting your heart health, which will also improve your blood pressure. Make changes in your lifestyle that will encourage a consistent healthy blood pressure, such as:

  • Quit smoking
  • Be aware of blood pressure and heart history in your family
  • Reduce stress

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Understanding Blood Pressure Readings

Blood pressure readings are written as two numbers. It usually looks like a fraction, followed by the letters “mmHg.” For example, 120/80 mmHg.

The first number is your systolic blood pressure, which refers to the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second number is your diastolic blood pressure, which refers to the pressure in your blood when your heart rests in between beats.

The “mmHg” stands for “millimeters of mercury.” Doctors used mercury in the first accurate blood pressure monitors, and the unit has remained the standard for measurement.

Every time you take your blood pressure, the reading will fall into one of five categories. Here’s a breakdown of the different blood pressure categories.

The top number is your systolic blood pressure, and the bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure.

Normal: Less than 120/80 mmHg. You’re doing great! Keep eating healthy and exercising regularly.

Elevated : 120-129 systolic and less than 80 mmHg. Example: 125/75 mmHg. Make some small tweaks to your lifestyle, such as adding aerobic exercise to your day and keeping stress levels low, to reduce your risk of developing hypertension.

Hypertension stage 1: 130 to 139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic. Examples: 131/75 mmHg and 127/85 mmHg. Doctors will prescribe lifestyle changes at this stage and may prescribe medications depending on your risk of atherosclerotic and cardiovascular diseases.

What Does The Diastolic Blood Pressure Number Mean

How To Take a Blood Pressure Reading

The diastolic reading, or the bottom number, is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. This is the time when the heart fills with blood and gets oxygen.

This is what your diastolic blood pressure number means:

  • Normal: Lower than 80
  • Stage 2 hypertension: 90 or more
  • Hypertensive crisis: 120 or more. Call 911.

Our chart below has more details.

Even if your diastolic number is normal , you can have elevated blood pressure if the systolic reading is 120-129.

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How To Use Your Blood Pressure Monitor

Taking care of your heart health is important. However, taking your own blood pressure measurements can seem daunting at first. But it doesnt have to be. Here is our quick and easy guide to a healthier and more confident you.

In order to get an accurate measurement, it is important to follow these rules:

  • Always take readings at the same time of day, under the same conditions. Always measure on the same arm. The left arm is recommended.
  • Do not take a measurement within 30 minutes of smoking, drinking coffee or tea or any form of exertion. These factors will influence the measurement.
  • Ensure at least 5 minutes of quiet rest before measurements. If possible, it is recommended to rest 10 minutes before taking the measurement. Try to always use the same resting time before taking a measurement.
  • If you want to take multiple measurements, wait approximately 3 minutes before repeating a measurement.

Why Wrong: Reading Blood Pressure Basics

Blood pressure is usually read when you are in the sitting position. There should be back support if seated.

Blood pressure readings should be taken when the person is relaxed and not right after any stressful events or stressful news.

It should be taken in the upper arm and at the level of the heart.

They should not be talking when the blood pressure is being taken.

Smoking, exercise or drinking caffeinated beverages within 30 minutes before their blood pressure reading can give a wrong reading.

The standard of care is to take the first blood pressure reading. If it is above normal, two more measurements are to be taken. The standard requires the measurements be separated by 2 minutes. Most health care workers do not wait the prerequisite 2 minutes.

If measurements are still elevated, your health care provider should take blood pressure readings from both arms.

An additional measurement may be taken once the patient has been laying, sitting and standing for 2 minutes.

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Your Blood Pressure Numbers And What They Mean

Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:

  • Systolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.
  • Diastolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.

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Williams B, Giuseppe M, Spiering W, et al. . 2018 ESC/ESH Guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension. Journal of Hypertension, 36. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000001940

Bupa . High blood pressure. Retrieved from www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/heart-blood-circulation/high-blood-pressure-hypertension

Blood Pressure Association . Blood pressure chart. Retrieved from www.bloodpressureuk.org/BloodPressureandyou/Thebasics/Bloodpressurechart

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Blood Pressure Monitors At Walgreens

If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension, it’s important that you keep tabs on your blood pressure readings. Your doctor will likely advise you to check your blood pressure at home, using a blood pressure monitor. Walgreens can help you follow your doctor’s instructions. We carry a large selection of manual and automatic blood pressure monitors for home use. You can explore the product assortment online and make a purchase, or visit your local Walgreens store to find a monitor for you.


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