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.
Measuring Blood Pressure With A Sphygmomanometer
A sphygmomanometer has three parts:
- a cuff that can be inflated with air,
- a pressure meter for measuring air pressure in the cuff, and
- a stethoscope for listening to the sound the blood makes as it flows through the brachial artery .
The scale of the pressure meter ranges from 0 to 300 mmHg. The pressure meter has a rubber pump on it for inflating the cuff and a button for letting the air out.
To measure blood pressure, the cuff is placed around the bare and stretched out upper arm, and inflated until no blood can flow through the brachial artery. Then the air is slowly let out of the cuff.
As soon as the air pressure in the cuff falls below the systolic blood pressure in the brachial artery, blood will start to flow through the arm once again. This creates a pounding sound when the arteries close again and the walls of the vessels hit each other after a heart beat. The sound can be heard by placing the stethoscope close to the elbow. Right when you start to hear this pounding for the first time you can read your systolic blood pressure off the pressure meter.
The pounding sound stops when the air pressure in the cuff falls below the diastolic blood pressure in the brachial artery. Then the blood vessels remain open. Right when the pounding stops, you can read the diastolic blood pressure off the pressure meter.
How To Keep A Blood Pressure Log
For some high blood pressure patients, keeping a running log of blood pressure readings can help improve the quality of treatment and highlight any special circumstances that may require additional intervention. Sometimes your healthcare provider will ask you to keep a blood pressure log to discover how your pressures tend to vary during different times of the day or to see if your blood pressure shows any extreme spikes.
While keeping a blood pressure log is not difficult, measuring blood pressure will require a special device, and you may need to be trained on how to use it properly. Your healthcare provider can help you with this training and the process only takes three to five minutes per day.
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Warning: Fake Blood Pressure Apps
|Be aware !!
|Fake blood pressure apps
|There are many health apps that claim to measure your blood pressure without the use of a blood pressure cuff, but none of these have been validated and shouldnt be trusted to give you an accurate recording.
The only safe way to measure your blood pressure is to use a reliable blood pressure monitor. You can measure your blood pressure at home using your own monitor or you can visit your local healthcare centre where a nurse or doctor can take a recording. If youre unsure about which monitor to use or how to take your own blood pressure, talk with a healthcare professional who can show you how.
Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring
The ambulatory blood pressure monitor checks your blood pressure at frequent intervals throughout one day and one night. It consists of a cuff which wraps around your arm. The cuff is attached to a small electric recording device on a belt or strap worn on your body. The doctor or nurse who supplies the device should make sure the cuff is the right size for your arm. You should keep the device safe and dry and not have a bath or shower whilst wearing it. From time to time you will feel a tightening sensation in your arm. This is whilst the cuff is inflating to take your blood pressure. It will not last very long and most people will not be worried by it. Try not to move your arm whilst the cuff is inflating. If the device cannot record your blood pressure it will try to repeat the process up to three times. The machine is usually set to record twice an hour whilst you are awake and hourly at night.
The ambulatory monitor can be worn whilst you go about your everyday activities. So, it will give an accurate impression about how your blood pressure behaves under normal circumstances. The doctor will look at multiple readings spread throughout the day. The results will help them decide whether or not you have high blood pressure .
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I’m Unable To Save My Recordings
After entering your blood pressure measurements, you should tap on done button on the data entry keypad. This takes you to the screen to enter your notes. Here you will find the save button. Pressing this button saves your record. If you do not press the save button, the record does not save. See the red circles in the below screenshot guidance:
What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of the arteries. Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers, the systolic pressure over the diastolic pressure .
We record this with the systolic pressure first and the diastolic pressure second . For example, if the systolic pressure is 120 mmHg and the diastolic pressure is 80 mmHg, we would describe the blood pressure as 120 over 80, written 120/80.
All patients must be assessed for fitness before they undergo surgery. As part of this assessment, it important to measure and record the patient’s blood pressure. There are two reasons for this:
It provides an initial recording . If the blood pressure falls suddenly below this baseline after surgery, we are alerted to the fact that the patient may be experiencing complications.
It allows us to confirm that the patient is fit enough to undergo surgery. A high blood pressure reading, or indeed a very low blood pressure reading, could suggest that the patient has other medical problems, e.g. an undiagnosed heart condition. He or she may need further medical tests and possibly medication to stabilise the blood pressure before undergoing surgery.
When measuring a patient’s blood pressure, the nurse should be aware of factors that can affect the reading and possibly give a false reading, which could lead to unnecessary medical investigations. These factors include:
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Automated Blood Pressure Machines
The easiest and most accurate way to measure the blood pressure at home is to buy an automated blood pressure monitor with an upper arm cuff.
The instructions for use may vary with each machine, and a person should follow them carefully to ensure proper operation. If the instructions are difficult to understand, a local pharmacy or doctors office will be able to show a person how to operate the machine correctly.
Doctors may ask a person to bring their at-home machine to the office during their next visit to test the accuracy compared to the doctors reading.
Using a high-quality machine is important, as inaccurate readings may cause unnecessary or harmful changes in medications or treatments.
A variety of blood pressure monitors are available for purchase online and in most drug stores. A person may wish to speak to a doctor about which brand they recommend.
There are apps and wrist devices that claim to measure the blood pressure, but these results are frequently inaccurate and are not a reliable way to monitor a persons health.
Apps that log blood pressure results may be helpful for people who need to take regular blood pressure tests, however.
Recording a set of readings into these apps may help doctors identify trends in blood pressure and recommend treatments.
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
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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.
How Is Blood Pressure Measured
It’s important to measure blood pressure more than once because it fluctuates over the course of the day. It can also change due to things like physical exertion, stress, pain, or extreme heat or cold. But this kind of increase in blood pressure is only temporary and it soon returns to normal.
So, if blood pressure is measured just once and found to be high, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s always too high. A blood pressure reading taken at the doctors office can also be misleading: Going to the doctor makes some people so nervous that their blood pressure goes up.
So to get reliable readings, blood pressure is measured on several different days and while you are resting. This means sitting down and relaxing on a chair, and waiting about three minutes before taking a measurement so that your circulatory system comes to rest. The upper arm that is being used for the measurement should rest on a table, at about the same height as the heart, while the reading is being done.
You can measure your blood pressure on your own using a digital blood pressure monitor for automated readings or an instrument called a sphygmomanometer for manual readings.
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What Is Normal Blood Pressure And When Is Blood Pressure Considered To Be High
Blood pressure is always measured on a number of different days and when you are at rest. If several of these measurements are too high, you are said to have high blood pressure, even if only one of the two either the systolic or the diastolic one is high. The medical term for high blood pressure is hypertension. In adults, blood pressure is considered to be normal under a systolic value of 140 mmHg and under a diastolic value of 90 mmHg.
When taking your blood pressure for the first time, it makes sense to measure the blood pressure in both arms, because it’s sometimes high on only one side. The values that are higher are always the ones used for assessing blood pressure. After that it is enough to measure the blood pressure only in the arm that produced the higher reading. A person is considered to have high blood pressure if the systolic value is over 140 mmHg, the diastolic value is over 90 mmHg, or if both are higher than these readings.
Table: Normal and high blood pressure readings
|systolic over 140 mmHg and/or diastolic over 90 mmHg
If You Get A High Blood Pressure Reading
- A single high reading is not an immediate cause for alarm. If you get a reading that is slightly or moderately higher than normal, take your blood pressure a few more times and consult your healthcare professional to verify if there s a health concern or whether there may be any issues with your monitor.
- If your blood pressure readings suddenly exceed 180/120 mm Hg, wait five minutes and test again. If your readings are still unusually high, contact your doctor immediately. You could be experiencing a hypertensive crisis.
- If your blood pressure is higher than 180/120 mm Hg and you are experiencing signs of possible organ damage such as chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness/weakness, change in vision, difficulty speaking, do not wait to see if your pressure comes down on its own. Call 911.
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Home Blood Pressure Monitoring
This is an alternative to ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. The process for doing this will be exactly the same as that used by the doctor or nurse in the surgery. You will be given a blood pressure monitor to use at home. Wrap the cuff around your arm just above the level of the elbow. You should be seated comfortably with your arm supported at the level of your heart. Press the button to inflate the machine and then make a note of the reading.
You should measure your blood pressure twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. On each occasion you should take two readings, one minute apart. You should take readings for at least four days and ideally for seven days. The doctor should use all the readings, apart from those taken on the first day, to calculate your average blood pressure.
How Blood Pressure Is Tested
Blood pressure machines vary, but they’re all a type of measuring device, which often have an arm cuff attached to it.
The cuff is usually wrapped around your upper arm and filled with air until it feels tight. This can feel uncomfortable but it only lasts a few seconds.
It’s important to relax and not talk during this time, because this is when your blood pressure is measured.
If a healthcare professional is doing this for you, they may also use a stethoscope to record your blood pressure.
An automatic device usually picks up the measurements from sensors in the arm cuff, which are sent to a digital display.
You should get the results straight away.
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Tips To Keep A Blood Pressure Monitor
- Proper training is vital to getting accurate readings. Therefore, make sure you are well-acquainted with your blood pressure monitor. Be sure to ask your doctor for assistance, if you are stuck.
- Make sure the strap that goes around your arm is the right clasps your arm effectively. In other words, it shouldnt be too tight or too loose. Feel free to ask your doctor to help you get the proper size for your arm and use that info in buying a blood pressure monitor with a suitable strap size.
- Avoid attempting to interpret the blood pressure log yourself. You may get strange readings once in a while, which is completely normal.
- Keep in mind that home blood pressure monitoring isnt a substitute for professional measurements. As such, you should ensure your blood pressure is checked frequently by your doctor.
Choosing A Home Blood Pressure Monitor
The American Heart Association recommends an automatic, cuff-style, bicep monitor.
- Wrist and finger monitors are not recommended because they yield less reliable readings.
- Choose a monitor that has been validated. If you are unsure, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice or find options at validatebp.org.
- When selecting a blood pressure monitor for a senior, pregnant woman or child, make sure it is validated for these conditions.
- Make sure the cuff fits measure around your upper arm and choose a monitor that comes with the correct size cuff.
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What Does My Blood Pressure Reading Mean
Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or lower. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90, you may have something called prehypertension. This means that you are at risk for high blood pressure.
|High blood pressure: Stage 2
|160 or higher
|100 or over
*If you have diabetes or kidney disease, high blood pressure ranges may be lower than for other people. Or, if you are older than 65, goal blood pressure may be higher. Talk to your doctor about what is considered high blood pressure for you.