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How To Take Blood Pressure At Home With Cuff

Can I Take A Blood Pressure Reading Measurement During Exercise

How to use a blood pressure monitor at home

Omron blood pressure monitors are NOT intended for use during exercise or activity. We recommend that you avoid eating, drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages, smoking, bathing and exercising for at least 30 minutes before taking a measurement. It is also best to rest for 15 minutes before starting the measurement.

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.

How To Use A Blood Pressure Cuff

There are many reasons why you may need to use a blood pressure cuff at home. Your doctor might request that you use one to check to see if you have white coat syndrome, which causes a persons blood pressure to rise when they are in a clinical setting. If youre dealing with a definite high blood pressure problem, you may need to use a blood pressure cuff to monitor your blood pressure from home and alert a professional if there is ever an issue.

If you dont have any previous experience of operating a blood pressure cuff yourself, dont worry its pretty simple. Heres a step-by-step on everything you need to do to take your blood pressure reading at home:

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What Affects A Blood Pressure Reading

Many things can affect a blood pressure reading, including:

  • Nervousness about having your blood pressure taken. This is called white coat syndrome. As many as 1 in 3 people who have a high blood pressure reading at the doctors office may have normal blood pressure readings outside of it.1
  • What you ate, drank, or did before your reading. If you smoked, drank alcohol or caffeine, or exercised within 30 minutes of having your blood pressure measured, your reading might be higher.2
  • How you are sitting. Crossing your legs and letting your arm droop at your side rather than rest on a table at chest height can make your blood pressure go up.2

Its important to get an accurate blood pressure reading so that you have a clearer picture of your risk for heart disease and stroke.

A reading that says your blood pressure is lower than it actually is may give you a false sense of security about your health. A reading that says your blood pressure is higher than it actually is may lead to treatment you dont need.

Youre Using The Wrong

How To Take Blood Pressure At Home Without Equipment

The most common error when using indirect blood pressure measuring equipment is using an incorrectly sized cuff. A BP cuff that is too large will give falsely low readings, while an overly small cuff will provide readings that are falsely high.

The American Heart Association publishes guidelines for blood pressure measurement . recommending that the bladder length and width should be 80 percent and 40 percent respectively, of arm circumference. Most practitioners find measuring bladder and arm circumference to be overly time consuming, so they dont do it.

The most practical way to quickly and properly size a BP cuff is to pick a cuff that covers two-thirds of the distance between your patients elbow and shoulder. Carrying at least three cuff sizes will fit the majority of the adult population. Multiple smaller sizes are needed if you frequently treat pediatric patients.

Korotkoff sounds are the noises heard through a stethoscope during cuff deflation. They occur in 5 phases:

  • I first detectable sounds, corresponding to appearance of a palpable pulse
  • II sounds become softer, longer and may occasionally transiently disappear
  • III change in sounds to a thumping quality
  • IV pitch intensity changes and sounds become muffled
  • V sounds disappear

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How To Monitor Blood Pressure Correctly

Follow these steps to correctly measure your blood pressure. If you have questions, contact your healthcare team.

  • Dont drink caffeine , exercise or smoke for at least 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure.
  • Use the restroom and empty your bladder before sitting down.
  • Sit comfortably with both feet flat on the floor for five minutes before taking your blood pressure. Sit with your back straight and supported .
  • Rest your arm on a table so the blood pressure cuff is about the same height as your heart . Unless otherwise directed, you may use either arm, but use the same arm each time.
  • Wrap the cuff around your bare upper arm . Place the bottom of the cuff directly above the bend of the elbow.
  • Dont talk or do other activities while measuring your blood pressure.
  • Follow the instructions for your monitor to take two to three readings at least one minute apart.
  • In your log, write down all your measurements, including the date, time of day and comments about daily activity, food and emotions.
  • Be sure to see your healthcare provider if youre consistently having high blood pressure readings at home.

    Blood Pressure Monitoring At Home

    Many people monitor their blood pressure at home. They often do this to manage or treat a certain health condition. If you monitor your blood pressure at home, keep a record, or log, of the measurements. The record shows your doctor how your blood pressure changes throughout the day. If you take medicines to control your blood pressure, it will help document if they are working. Measuring your blood pressure at home is a good way to take part in managing your health.

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    How To Measure Your Blood Pressure At Home Using A Home Monitor

  • Follow the instructions that came with your monitor. Make sure you place the cuff around your arm as described in the instructions.
  • Place the arm cuff just above your elbow. The cuff should be about 2cm above your elbow to make sure it can detect the artery in your arm, just under the skin.
  • Keep still and quietwhile you take your reading. Moving, chewing, talking and laughing can affect your reading. Make sure you don’t cross your legs, as this will raise your reading too.
  • Take two or three readings, each about one to two minutes apart. If your first reading is much higher than the next, ignore it and take an extra reading. Once you have two to three readings, you can work out the average.
  • Keep a record of your measurements. Record all your readings in the memory of your monitor, on your computer or phone or on paper whichever you prefer. Write them down exactly as they appear on screen.
  • Tips For Checking Your Own Blood Pressure

    How To Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home

    There are certain factors that can cause blood pressure to temporarily rise. For example, blood pressure normally rises as a result of:

    Try to avoid as many of these factors as you can when taking your blood pressure. Also, try to measure your blood pressure at about the same time each day. Your doctor may want you to check your blood pressure several times during the day to see if it fluctuates.

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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.
  • Rest your arm on a table so cuff is at heart level.
  • For upper arm monitors, the cuff around your upper arm should be even with your heart. Your hand should rest on the table, palm up.
  • For wrist monitors, youll need to bend your elbow to bring your wrist to heart level. Positioning your wrist at heart level is critical for an accurate measurement.
  • Press start. During your measurement, do not talk, move, or eat. Any one of these things can impact your measurement.
  • Thats all there is to it!

    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.

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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.

    Best For People With Smaller Arms: Lifesource Blood Pressure Monitor With Small Cuff

    Amazon.com: Blood Pressure Monitor, Automatic Blood Pressure Cuff Wrist ...

    This LifeSource monitor is specifically designed with a cuff for smaller arms. The cuff fits arms between 6.3 and 9.4 inches around, which, per the brand, is perfect for petite and small-framed people.

    The monitor and cuff are clinically validated for accuracy and the entire system operates off one button with a large digital screen. Additionally, this monitor and cuff combo is FSA-eligible and can store 90 readings right on the device with a date and time stamp to make logging and recording a breeze.

    One thing to note is that you will need to use this monitor with its AC adaptor it doesn’t offer battery power. You’ll also want to keep in mind that, according to the American Heart Association, a cuff that’s too small could give you an inaccurately high reading, so it’s a good idea to measure your arm and check with your doctor that you are using the right size.

    Buy it: Price: $54.99

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    Ask Your Doctor For A Recommendation

    Lastly, Dr. Nguyen suggests asking your doctor what they think is the best blood pressure monitor for home use for you. There may be a specific brand with features they know you’ll find helpful, or they may suggest a product with software they’re familiar with so readings can sync to them without any hassle.

    Your Readings Exhibit Prejudice

    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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    How To Take Blood Pressure Readings

    Taking readings requires some thought and preparation, though it will soon become second nature. There are several things to remember:

    • Relax. Steer clear of caffeine and exercise for thirty minutes beforehand, and rest for a few minutes. Sit comfortably upright with your feet flat on the floor and with your back supported.
    • Position your arm correctly. Rest it on a flat surface, with your upper arm level with your heart.
    • Position the cuff correctly, with the bottom edge just above your elbow.

    The instruction manual of your device will also provide you with clear instructions.

    Does The Size Of The Cuff Matter

    How to Take Your Blood Pressure at Home – Ochsner Digital Medicine

    Yes, it is very important to use the appropriate size cuff for your arm in order to get accurate measurement results when using your home blood pressure monitor. If you use the wrong sized cuff, you will likely experience inaccurate readings, inconsistent readings and error messages from the device.

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    Is It Normal For My Blood Pressure To Vary

    Yes, it is quite normal for peoples blood pressure to change throughout the day and night, or in different settings where you may measure 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. In fact, there are published studies that show a given persons blood pressure can change by up to 20mm within a day, based on activity levels, food/drink intake, stress, etc. This is why it is important to take your blood pressure on a regular basis, and review the overall trend of your blood pressure readings with your doctor.

    For a convenient tool to help you easily track your blood pressure readings, click here.

    Tips To Measure Your Blood Pressure Correctly

    To determine whether you have hypertension, a medical professional will take a blood pressure reading. How you prepare for the test, the position of your arm, and other factors can change a blood pressure reading by 10% or more. That could be enough to hide high blood pressure, start you on a drug you don’t really need, or lead your doctor to incorrectly adjust your medications.

    National and international guidelines offer specific instructions for measuring blood pressure. If a doctor, nurse, or medical assistant isn’t doing it right, don’t hesitate to ask him or her to get with the guidelines.

    Here’s what you can do to ensure a correct reading:

    Don’t drink a caffeinated beverage or smoke during the 30 minutes before the test.

    Sit quietly for five minutes before the test begins.

    During the measurement, sit in a chair with your feet on the floor and your arm supported so your elbow is at about heart level.

    The inflatable part of the cuff should completely cover at least 80% of your upper arm, and the cuff should be placed on bare skin, not over a shirt.

    Don’t talk during the measurement.

    Have your blood pressure measured twice, with a brief break in between. If the readings are different by 5 points or more, have it done a third time.

    For more on getting your blood pressure under control, buy Controlling Your Blood Pressure, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

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