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.
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.
Take Your High Blood Pressure Drugs Exactly As Prescribed
High blood pressure drugs work best if you take them as your doctor has prescribed them. So you need to take the right amount at the right times every day. Ask your doctor or pharmacist these questions:
- How much of the medication should I take?
- How often should I take it?
- Are there special instructions, such as to take the drug with food?
- What should I do if I miss a dose?
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How To Measure Blood Pressure Correctly
General guidelines for measuring blood pressure
The blood pressure level is not a constant value. It fluctuates continuously depending on the influence of various factors. Fluctuations in blood pressure in patients with arterial hypertension are significantly higher than in those without this disease.
One of the main factors affecting the level of blood pressure is a person’s condition. Measurement of blood pressure can be carried out both at rest and during physical exercises or psycho-emotional stress, as well as in the intervals between different types of activity.
Measurements at rest allow us to estimate the approximate level of blood pressure at certain intervals, associated, for example, with taking medications or with other moments of life. Blood pressure is most often measured while sitting, but in some cases it becomes necessary to measure it while lying or standing.
To perform measurements at rest, it is necessary to provide a comfortable environment and fulfill the following requirements:
Features of measuring blood pressure with automatic blood pressure monitor with a cuff on the wrist:
Wrist blood pressure monitors are not recommended for people with changes in the vascular walls and irregularities in peripheral blood supply . In these cases, before using the wrist blood pressure monitor, it is necessary to perform a control measurement with a blood pressure monitor with a cuff on the shoulder and make sure that there is no big difference in the readings.
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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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.
Tips To Make Sure Your At
Tips to keep in mind while measuring your resting blood pressure at home include the following:
Morning and evening are good times to measure your blood pressure. Remember, blood pressure varies throughout the day, and readings are often a little higher in the morning. Also, your blood pressure may be slightly lower at home than in a medical office, with the difference typically being around 5 points.
Dont be alarmed if you get an unexpectedly high reading. One high reading is usually nothing to worry about. Measure your blood pressure again at another time. If your blood pressure is consistently high or abnormal, discuss it with your doctor.
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What You Must Know Before Starting Any Medications
Before you start taking any medications for hypertension, or high blood pressure, make sure that whoever is measuring your blood pressure does it accurately.
Letâs start with your doctorâs office visit.
Everyone gets nervous, anxious, tense, and apprehensive when they visit their doctor for any exam, procedure, or routine checkup. These emotions will automatically make your resting blood pressure higher than it normally is. It is important to remain calm while also being aware of whatâs going on around you.
The following are things you should keep an eye on while your blood pressure is being measured.
The cuff should never be placed over clothing. Doing so can give a false reading.
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Tips For Checking Your Own Blood Pressure
There are certain factors that can cause blood pressure to temporarily rise. For example, blood pressure normally rises as a result of:
- Certain medicines
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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At Home With A Monitor
Home monitoring can be a great way to keep track of your blood pressure on a daily basis.
With home monitoring, you can check your blood pressure throughout the day and at times that are convenient for you. It can help you see how your blood pressure changes throughout the day and help you get a sense of your average blood pressure range.
However, youll need to purchase a blood pressure monitor to do this. Youll also need to learn how to use it and how to record accurate readings.
Its not complicated to learn the basics of many home monitors, but it can still be easy to make a mistake.
How To Correctly Use A Blood Pressure Cuff
A blood pressure cuff is a medical device that is used to measure a persons blood pressure. It works by applying pressure to the arteries in the arm and provides medical professionals with an indication of a persons blood pressure and heart health.
In this guide to correctly using a blood pressure cuff, we will introduce the simple steps required to correctly fit a blood pressure cuff and take your blood pressure reading.
If you are seeking to measure your blood pressure at home without the assistance of a medical professional, this guide can help you obtain the most accurate reading.
In addition, there is no need to worry about complicated readings as blood pressure machines are designed to be simple to use in both clinical and home settings.
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Do This Within 5 Minutes Of Taking Your Blood Pressure
Have 5 minutes of quiet, relaxed time. Taking your blood pressure right after a stressful drive or conversation can give you an elevated reading. This would not be consistent with your reading throughout the rest of the day.
In addition, make sure you empty your bladder so your body and mind is not stressed.
The Shoulds Of Properly Taking Your High Blood Pressure Drugs
Why is it so important to take your high blood pressure drugs properly? It’s not just to make your doctor happy or to make your life more complicated. Taking high blood pressure medicine properly provides you the best results, lowering your blood pressure to a healthier level. You should take high blood pressure medicine properly because:
- That’s how your doctor can tell whether the medicine is working to lower your blood pressure.
- Taking medicine at the wrong doses or times or stopping high blood pressure medicine suddenly can be downright dangerous to your health.
- If your blood pressure remains too high, you’re more likely to develop other serious problems such as heart attacks, stroke, or kidney disease.
The good news is that taking high blood pressure medicine properly helps ensure better health for yourself now and in the future.
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Zero Movements During The Test
Some people have trivialized this practice so much in their home environment that they tend to talk and move their arms during their blood pressure readings.
- Its clear that any loud expression or worried thoughts can alter our blood pressure in a short time.
- For this reason, if you want to have a reliable result, the right thing to do is not to move during the self-examination.
How Do I Know If My Monitor Is Accurate Or If I Am Using It Correctly
Once you buy your device, have your doctor check it for accuracy. They should check your monitor once a year. On your own, periodically check the tubing for cracks and leaks. Proper care and storage are necessary. Make sure the tubing is not twisted when you store it. Keep it away from heat.
Ask your doctor or nurse to teach you how to use your blood pressure monitor correctly. This will help you achieve good results in controlling your blood pressure.
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Additional Tests That Can Check For Hypertension
Your doctor may order additional tests to check for causes of hypertension and to assess any organ damage caused by high blood pressure:
- Ambulatory monitoring: Device is used to measure blood pressure at regular intervals over a 24-hour period that provides an accurate picture of blood pressure changes.
- Urine test: Checks for electrolytes and urinary proteins.
- Blood test: Measures electrolytes, blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels.
Measuring Your Blood Pressure
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Taking Your Blood Pressure
If you have a manual or digital blood pressure monitor, follow the instruction booklet carefully. The following steps provide an overview of how to take your blood pressure using either a manual or digital blood pressure monitor.
1. Locate your pulse
Locate your pulse by lightly pressing your index and middle fingers slightly to the inside center of the bend of the elbow. Here you can feel the pulse of the brachial artery. If you cannot locate a pulse, place the head of the stethoscope or the arm cuff in the same general area.
2. Secure the cuff
A. Thread the cuff end through the metal loop and slide the cuff onto your arm, making sure that the stethoscope head is over the artery. The lower edge of the cuff should be about 1 inch above the bend of your elbow. Use the Velcro wrap to make the cuff snug, but not too tight.
B. Place the stethoscope in your ears. Tilt the earpiece slightly forward to get the best sound.
3. Inflate and deflate the cuff
If you are using a manual monitor:
A. Hold the pressure gauge in your left hand and the bulb in your right.
B. Close the airflow valve on the bulb by turning the screw clockwise.
C. Inflate the cuff by squeezing the bulb with your right hand. You may hear your pulse in the stethoscope.
D. Watch the gauge. Keep inflating the cuff until the gauge reads about 30 points above your expected systolic pressure. At this point, you should not hear your pulse in the stethoscope.
G. Continue to slowly deflate the cuff.
Positioning The Blood Pressure Cuff
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How Do I Measure My Blood Pressure
Before you check your blood pressure, you should:
- Wait 30 minutes after eating or using caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco products.
- Go to the bathroom and empty your bladder.
- Rest for 3 to 5 minutes and do not talk.
- Sit in a comfortable position, with your legs and ankles uncrossed and your back supported.
- Elevate your left arm to the level of your heart. Place it on a table or desk and sit still.
- Wrap the cuff around the upper part of your bare arm. The cuff should be smooth and snug. There should be enough room for you to slip one fingertip under the cuff.
- Check the placement of the cuff. The bottom edge of it should be 1 inch above the crease of your elbow.
Below are the steps to take to use an aneroid monitor.
Below are the steps to take to use a digital monitor.
- Turn the power on to start the unit.
- On the automatic models, the cuff will inflate by itself with a push of a button. On the manual models, you have to inflate the cuff. You do this by squeezing the rubber bulb at a rapid rate.
- After the cuff inflates, the automatic device will slowly let air out.
- Look at the display screen to get your blood pressure reading. It will show your systolic and diastolic pressures. Write down the measurement in your record. The systolic pressure goes in front of the diastolic pressure. For example, 120/80.
- Press the exhaust button to release all of the air from the cuff.
- If you need to repeat the measurement, wait 2 to 3 minutes before starting.