What Are The Common Causes Of Getting Blood Pressure Readings That Are Inaccurate
It is quite normal for peoples blood pressure to change throughout the day and night, or in different settings where you may take your blood pressure. Many things, such as stress levels, food or drink intake, activity levels, even time of day can all affect a persons blood pressure reading at any given time. So, it is possible that you may just be seeing normal fluctuations in blood pressure.
However, below are some common situations that can lead to inconsistent or inaccurate readings:
What Other Experts Have To Say
Dr. Amanda Adkins, a primary care physician with NorthBay Health in Fairfield, California, told Healthline as long as people take their medication every day, then the time of day shouldnt really matter.
There are some medications for blood pressure that were recommended to take at night such as beta blockers like metoprolol as there was study done that thought risk for heart attack was higher in the morning, Adkins said. Therefore, taking medication at night should possibly decrease that risk.
While this may be true, most medications are taken once a day and last in ones system for 24 hours, Adkins noted. There are other medications like diuretics or water pills that are recommended to take during the day because one may need to urinate more often.
Because most medications last 24 hours the time of day may not be as important, she added. I know compliance is a big issue for patients. So, as long as they take the medication every day they will see benefits.
Dr. Nicole Harkin, a cardiologist and founder of Whole Heart Cardiology in San Francisco, told Healthline she goes by a pretty simple premise when telling patients when to take their blood pressure drugs.
Dr. Stephen Pickett, a cardiologist at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center in Houston, told Healthline not all blood pressure medications work the same way.
What Can I Do To Help Better Manage My Blood Pressure
Managing your blood pressure doesnt have to take a lot of work. In fact, small improvements to your lifestyle can help.
- Exercise: Just be a little more active. Walk instead of drive take the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.
- Eat Smart: Try to find low-fat, low-sodium substituted that also taste great. Potassium found in bananas and carrots is natures best medicine for your heart.
- Kick the Habits: Minimize your alcohol and cigarette intake.
- Stifle Your Stress: Stress is a normal part of life. But too much can increase the risk of heart disease. Relax by doing things you enjoy and your heart can benefit.
- Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home: Monitoring your blood pressure at home on a regular basis provides you and your doctor with the information to best manage your blood pressure.
These are just some examples. Discuss with your doctor on other ways how you can better your heart.
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How Do I Take Bp Readings
You can take BP readings 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 BP readings.
- Rest quietly for 5 minutes before you begin. Do not talk while you take BP readings.
- Sit with your feet flat on the floor and your back against a chair.
- Put your arm straight out and support it on a flat surface. Your arm should be at chest level. Do not move your arm while you take your BP readings.
- 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 BP reading. Take 2 BP readings and write down both results. Use the same arm each time. These BP readings can be 1 minute apart.
Are Digital Blood Pressure Monitors Accurate
All Omron blood pressure monitors are clinically proven accurate. They are clinically validated to be within the following:
- Blood pressure: within +/- 3 mgHg or 2 percent
- Pulse: within +/- 5 percent of reading.
This meets or exceeds the AAMI standards. To understand the accuracy levels of other manufacturers blood pressure monitors, you need to contact them. It is always important to investigate accuracy and ease of use before purchasing a home blood pressure monitor.
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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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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:
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Digital Blood Pressure Monitors
Digital blood pressure monitors are often used on the wrist, but they can also be placed on the finger or upper arm and are activated simply by pressing a button. They read the blood pressure automatically based on variations in the volume of blood in the arteries. When taking blood pressure measurements on the wrist, it’s important to keep the hand level with the heart. Otherwise it can affect the readings.
Digital meters can sometimes be inaccurate and produce unreliable readings anyway especially in people with certain heart rhythm problems or arteries that have hardened due to arteriosclerosis.
Blood Pressure Pieces Of Evidence
Your heart is your most important structure, and its a good idea to know how well its doing. With Omron home blood pressure monitors, you dependably get an accurate picture of your hearts health.
One in three adults agonizes from high blood pressure in America. This disorder can lead to heart occurrences, strokes, kidney failure, and sightlessness. With the Omron 3 SEQUENCE upper arm monitor, you can monitor your blood pressure at home, and with the help of your doctor, take steps to reduce your risk of heart sickness. A healthy heart combined with a healthy lifestyle will help increase your probabilities for long, active life.
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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.
Tips For Using Your Blood Pressure Cuff
To get the most accurate blood pressure reading, remember the following tips:
- Make sure the blood pressure cuff is the right size for you. Cuffs come in different sizes, including pediatric sizes if you have very small arms. You should be able to comfortably slip one finger between your arm and the cuff when its deflated.
- Avoid smoking, drinking, or exercising 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure.
- Be sure to sit with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Your feet shouldnt be crossed.
- Take your blood pressure at different times of the day and record exactly what time each blood pressure measurement is taken.
- Rest 3 to 5 minutes before taking your blood pressure and a few extra minutes if youve recently been very active.
- Take at least two readings every time to make sure theyre correct. The readings should be within a few numbers of each other.
- Take your blood pressure at different times throughout the day over a period of time to get the most accurate readings and ranges.
- Bring your own at-home monitor to your doctors office at least once a year to calibrate it and make sure its working correctly.
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Insights About Your Blood Pressure Results
The result of your blood pressure measurement can determine your next steps. If your blood pressure reading is under 120/80 or is within target levels according to your healthcare provider, that is great news. You might want to think about some things you may have been doing to achieve that good result, such as increasing physical activity levels, limiting sodium intake, or following instructions for taking any blood pressure medications.
If, on the other hand, your blood pressure is a little higher than target, or is in the hypertensive range or has been creeping up, it might be time to think about why that happened. Possible reasons can include having caffeine just before measuring blood pressure, skipping a few workouts, or missing a dose of medication. It is also important to check whether you took your blood pressure properly.
Why Cant I Get A Reading From My Omron Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor With Aps
The most common cause of this situation is due to the user not having the unit at heart level. For an Omron wrist blood pressure monitor with A.P.S. technology, please follow the below instructions.
To turn the unit on and take a measurement, press START/STOP button once. The monitor will start beeping. Holding left elbow and arm against body, elevate cuffed wrist to heart level . The monitor will beep faster as you get closer to the Heart Zone. Four slow beeps will sound when in the correct position.
Please note: cuff will not begin inflating until correct position is reached. This is to ensure that you get an accurate reading.
Hold still until cuff deflates and results are displayed. Press START/STOP to turn off the monitor.
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How Do I Make Sure I Am Taking A Good Reading
Now that weve gotten the background information out of the way, its time to get started!
- Sit with your back straight, your legs uncrossed, and your feet flat on the floor.
- Place the cuff on your left arm or wrist .
- For upper arm monitors, wrap the cuff around the middle of your bare upper arm, about ½ above the elbow. It should be fastened snugly, but you should be able to slide two fingers underneath the cuff. Place the air hose on the inside of the arm near the crook of your elbow so that the artery position mark is aligned with your brachial artery.
- For wrist monitors, with the palm facing upwards, attach the monitor to the inside of your wrist. Fasten securely with the top edge of the cuff aligned with the crease of your wrist.
Thats all there is to it!
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.
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 Are The Different Styles Of Cuffs
- D-Ring Cuff: A d-ring cuff is a standard type of blood pressure cuff that you would usually see in your doctors office. It is a cuff where the user loops one end of the cuff through a metal ring, then fastens it to the arm. D-ring cuffs come in different sizes of small, standard and large. It is important to pick out the right size cuff based on your individual arm circumference. Please see the questions in this Omron FAQ regarding the different types of cuffs and how to measure your arm circumference.
- Expandable Cuff: The Omron ComFit Cuff is a pre-formed upper arm cuff that expands to fit both regular and large sized arms . It is designed to ensure more comfortable, accurate readings.
- Wrist Cuff: A wrist cuff is similar to an upper arm cuff however you can wrap it around your wrist instead of your upper arm.
Tips For Getting An Accurate Blood Pressure Reading
To accurately monitor your blood pressure over time, you shouldn’t just plop down in a chair whenever to do a reading. Instead, you should implement some simple practices that help ensure accuracy.
1. Take your blood pressure at the same time of day for every new recording.
2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol at least 30 minutes prior to your reading.
3. Avoid exercise within 30 minutes of taking your blood pressure.
4. Sit up straight and be still throughout the measurement.
5. Take multiple measurements and record all of the results with the date and time.
6. Don’t wear the blood pressure cuff over clothes.
Your blood pressure should be easy to read on a digital monitor, like this one.
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Which Measurement Is Most Important
Its most useful to track systolic blood pressure, and systolic pressure is the basis for most guidelines, says Willie Lawrence, MD, chairman of the oversight committee of the American Heart Associations National Hypertension Control Initiative and medical director of the Center for Better Health and Cardiovascular Wellness in Benton Harbor, Mich.
Increases in systolic pressure are more consistently associated with increases in disease risk when compared with diastolic blood pressure, according to the latest guidelines on blood pressure targets.
Still, elevated diastolic pressure is also a risk factor for disease. If you have, for example, normal systolic pressure but stage 1 diastolic hypertension, you would be diagnosed with stage 1 hypertension, according to current guidelines.
As for your pulse reading, theres no hard and fast ideal number for your heart rate. Its considered an indicator of how efficiently your heart can pump blood through your body, so a lower heart rate while at rest is generally an indicator of better physical fitness. But Lawrence says theres no definitive target for it the way there is for blood pressure. Still, when you track it over time, changes in your normal heart rate could help indicate a heart condition, according to the American Heart Association.
Apps To Track Your Blood Pressure
Although there are apps that promise to check your blood pressure without using equipment, this isnt an accurate or reliable method.
However, there are apps that can help you track your blood pressure results. This can be helpful in identifying patterns in your blood pressure. Your doctor may use this information to determine if you require blood pressure medications.
Some examples of free apps to monitor blood pressure include:
- Blood Pressure Monitor Family Lite for iOS. With this app, you can enter your blood pressure, weight, and height, as well as track the medications you take.
- Blood Pressure for Android. This app tracks your blood pressure and features several statistical and graphical analysis tools.
- Blood Pressure Companion for iOS and macOS. This app allows you to track your blood pressure as well as view graphs and trends on your blood pressure readings across several days or weeks.
These apps can help you quickly and easily track your blood pressure readings. Measuring your blood pressure regularly on the same arm can help you most accurately track your blood pressure readings.
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