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How To Read A Blood Pressure

What Does The Systolic Blood Pressure Number Mean

Blood Pressure Measurement: How to Check Blood Pressure Manually

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.

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.


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.

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That Thing That Measures Blood Pressure

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Does Salt Raise Blood Pressure?

How To Read Your Blood Pressure Results

Learning to Take an Accurate Blood Pressure Reading

If you have high blood pressure , your doctor may have suggested that you measure your blood pressure at home regularly, such as weekly, daily, or more. The readings you get can provide critical information about your blood pressure and heart health, and whether you may need adjustments in your medications, lifestyle, or other parts of your treatment plan.

Knowing how to read your blood pressure results can help you stay in control of your health, since you are the most critical member of your care team. This is some information about taking blood pressure at home and how you can use the readings to your advantage, especially if youre using Lark for coaching.

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Make Relaxation A Priority

The daily stress of work, household responsibilities and other chores can take a toll on our heart health. Chronic stress can release too much cortisol in your body, which weakens your immune system and heart muscles. Find ways to relax and unwind. That may be a stretching class, daily journaling, relaxing with a good book, catching up with an old friend or finding time to practice your faith. Make finding joy a priority. Your heart will thank you.

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.

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Heart Rate And Exercise

In discussions about high blood pressure, you will often see heart rate mentioned in relation to exercise. Your target heart rate is based on age and can help you monitor the intensity of your exercise.

  • If you measure your heart rate before, during and after physical activity, youll notice it will increase over the course of the exercise.
  • The greater the intensity of the exercise, the more your heart rate will increase.
  • When you stop exercising, your heart rate does not immediately return to your normal heart rate.
  • The more fit you are, the sooner your heart rate will return to normal.

Learn more:

Blood Pressure Monitors At Walgreens

How to Read Your Own Blood Pressure

If youve been diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension, its 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 doctors 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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A Blood Pressure Reading Gives Two Numbers

The top systolic reading gives the pressure of your blood on your arteries at it travels around your body.

The bottom diastolic reading is the lowest pressure on your arteries when your heart rests between beats.

Enter these numbers into the blood pressure calculator and Submit. The blood pressure calculator will instantly summarise your reading and give recommendations.

Record readings entered into the blood pressure checker to monitor changes and seek medical advice if you are concerned about any results using the blood pressure calculator.

Blood Pressure Reading Sounds

There are five distinct types of sounds.

The first snapping sound heard for two consecutive beats is systolic pressure.

The second sets of sounds are murmurs heard between the systolic and diastolic pressures.

Third, a loud, crisp tapping sound.

The fourth heard within 10 mm mercury above the diastolic blood pressure, is a “thumping” and “muting.”

The fifth sound is silent as the cuff pressure drops below the diastolic blood pressure. The disappearance of sound is considered diastolic blood pressure 2 mmHg below the last sound heard.

The second and third Korotkoff sounds have no known significance.

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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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Diastolic Vs Systolic Blood Pressure

How To Read A Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor

Diastolic pressure occurs whenever the heart relaxes, and blood fills it up. Systolic pressure occurs when the heart contracts and the blood gets pushed out of the heart.

According to health experts, both types of blood pressure are equal in importance. However, higher SBPs appear to come with higher risks of cardiovascular disease.

However, diastolic blood pressures can also go up due to a high-sodium diet. It also tends to be higher in patients with obesity and high alcohol consumption. Having a sedentary lifestyle and some types of medications can also make the DBP go up.

Aside from your SBP and DBP, you should also keep track of your pulse pressure.

Your pulse pressure is the actual difference between your SBP and DBP. So if your BP reading is 120/80, your pulse pressure is 40. Health experts say that the normal pulse pressure is 40 mmHg.

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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.

When Should I Check My Blood Pressure

A regular blood pressure check is the best way of monitoring blood pressure. You can request a blood pressure test from a GP or pharmacy, or take a reading at home using a blood pressure monitor.

If you have been diagnosed with high or low blood pressure, or have a higher risk of developing either it is advisable to check your blood pressure more frequently. It is recommended that adults over 40 should check their blood pressure at least every 5 years to detect any potential issues early.

This blood pressure checker is sourced from the NHS, all recommendations given by the blood pressure tool are supplied by the NHS website. Use the blood pressure checker as often as you wish.

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Preventing High Blood Pressure

To keep your blood pressure in the normal range, your daily habits are key. These things help:

Donât smoke. Among the many health problems that smoking causes, it raises your blood pressure.

Make physical activity a habit. Most experts recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five or more times a week. Or you could do a harder activity for a shorter period of time per session.

Eat right. Read food labels to see how much sodium is in a serving. Check with your doctor to find out what your daily limit should be. Include a lot of vegetables and fruits, along with whatever else you choose to put on your plate.

Stick to a healthy weight. Extra pounds raise your blood pressure. If youâre not sure what a healthy weight would be for you, ask your doctor.

Get enough sleep. For most adults, thatâs 7-8 hours of sleep per night, on a regular basis.

If you drink alcohol, limit it to no more than one drink a day if youâre a woman and up to two drinks a day if youâre a man.

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What’s The Difference Between Blood Pressure And Pulse

How Blood Pressure Readings Work

While your blood pressure is the force of your blood moving through your blood vessels, your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute.

  • They are two separate measurements and indicators of health.
  • For people with high blood pressure , theres no substitute for measuring blood pressure.

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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 whats 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 youre at risk of developing high blood pressure. To avoid this, you need to take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.

Understanding Your Blood Pressure Reading

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

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

The highest number is always the systolic pressure and it’s always given first. For example, a blood pressure given as “120 over 80” or 120/80mmHg means a systolic pressure of 120mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 80mmHg.

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

If your reading is between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg, you may be at risk of developing high blood pressure. There are things you can do to help prevent high blood pressure.

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Complications Of High Blood Pressure

Untreated or poorly managed high blood pressure can cause serious and even life threatening issues. It can damage your blood vessels as well as your organs. The longer your hypertension goes untreated, the more it can damage your body and affect your health.

Potential complications of high blood pressure include:

Healthy And Unhealthy Blood Pressure Ranges

What Do Blood Pressure Readings Mean?

Learn whats considered normal, as recommended by the American Heart Association.

Blood Pressure Chart


Note: A diagnosis of high blood pressure must be confirmed with a medical professional. A doctor should also evaluate any unusually low blood pressure readings.

The five blood pressure ranges as recognized by the American Heart Association are:

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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.

How Can I Measure My Blood Pressure At Home

Talk with your health care team about regularly measuring your blood pressure at home, also called self-measured blood pressure monitoring.

SMBP means you regularly use a personal blood pressure measurement device away from a doctors office or hospitalusually at home. These blood pressure monitors are easy and safe to use. A health care team member can show you how to use one if you need help.

Evidence shows that people with high blood pressure are more likely to lower their blood pressure if they use SMBP combined with support from their health care team than if they dont use SMBP.3

Use these additional tips for SMBP:4

  • Use a blood pressure log pdf icon to record your blood pressure measurements.
  • Take your blood pressure at the same time every day.
  • Take at least two readings, 1 or 2 minutes apart.

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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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