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.
How To Use A Wrist Blood Pressure Cuff
Blood pressure measurements are important, so avoiding errors are crucial. Using a wrist blood pressure cuff can complicate matters. The differences in technique between a wrist cuff and upper arm cuff can produce false readings if not performed properly. Because of this, a question I get asked from many is, how to use a wrist blood pressure cuff?
How to use a wrist blood pressure cuff:
- Sit upright in a chair with feet flat on the floor and back supported.
- Place the wrist cuff around the bare wrist.
- Position the monitor on the inside of the wrist.
- Adjust the wrist cuff, so its snug with no space between the cuff and wrist.
- The end of the cuff should be approximately 1/2 to 1 inch from the wrist crease at the bottom of the palm.
- The wrist cuff should not cover the wrist bone protrusion on the outside of the wrist.
- Comfortably rest the elbow on a flat surface and raise the wrist to heart level.
- Keep the wrist and hand relaxed.
- Do not bend the wrist backward or forward.
- Begin the measurement.
This blog post will further explain each step and explain why they are necessary. In addition, Ill cover other habits which must be followed when using a wrist cuff. If youre looking to purchase a new wrist monitor, you can check out the one I recommend in my blog post, right here.
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Youre Using The Wrong
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
Obese Arms And Blood Pressure
I dont think anybody would dispute the familiar association between obesity and blood pressure 1. An obese arm possesses the potential to cause complications with BP measurement. Those issues may exaggerate hypertension more 2. So what steps should be followed for obese arms and blood pressure?
The following steps must be followed with an obese arm for blood pressure measurement:
The steps are not limited to an obese arm. Any large arm, like a very muscular one, may be troublesome. This article will expand on the 4 steps above and explain how to perform them properly. In addition, Ill inform you how inaccurate the measurements may be on an obese arm.
BP Tip: Lower BP naturally by changing how you breathe. Theres a device approved by the FDA and The American Heart Association. It simply guides your breathing for you a few minutes a day which has been proven to lower blood pressure. You can check it out in the manufacturers website by .
Disclaimer: This post may have some affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
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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.
Arm And Cuff Position
Now that you have your body in the proper position and the cuff on your wrist, start your 5 minutes of quiet time. Once youre relaxed, the wrist and arm position are the next step. Just like with an upper arm cuff, its extremely important to have the wrist cuff at the height of your heart 5.
There are two ways to accomplish this. The first is to rest your elbow on the table surface in front of you. Then bend your elbow raising the cuff up to the same height as your heart. Most decent monitors have a heart height sensor which will let you know when the cuff is at the correct height.
Please read your monitor manual for the specific instructions on this for your particular monitor.
The Omron wrist monitor I recommend, requires the distance from the top of your seat to the top of the table to be between 10 to 14 apart. If the distance doesnt fall into the range, they say to turn off the sensor and determine the height yourself.
In addition, the size of persons torso may make the sensor inaccurate. If either one of these are the situation for you, follow the second technique.
The second technique involves stopping the cuff at the height you determine where your heart is. You can keep your elbow in the same position as the first technique above.
Or you can slide it out to the side and position the cuff close to your chest to help determine the correct height. Once the cuff is at the correct height, keep it there for the measurement.
Also Check: How To Calibrate Omron Blood Pressure Machine
Learn How To Use A Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor Correctly In 5 Minutes
A study published in the Hypertension journal has pointed out that many people are misusing wrist blood pressure monitor at home, which leads to them getting inaccurate readings. The inaccurate readings are usually higher than whats true. To help you get more accurate measurements, here are some guidelines for measuring your blood pressure.
First, here are some dos and donts of using a blood pressure monitor that applies to both wrist and underarm-monitor.
Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor Pros And Cons
As is the case with most things in life, wrist blood pressure cuffs have their pros and cons.
Cons:While they are capable of being just as accurate, because of the need for proper technique, the margin of error for wrist cuffs is greater than their upper arm counterparts.
Pros:Now, for the good news. Wrist cuffs, which you may be attracted to for their great portability, are also getting smarter and easier to use all the time. Some even come with technology and apps to make sure youre using proper technique to get the best reading.
As with any medical decisions, you should discuss with your doctor. They can help make sure that your at-home readings are as accurate as possible. A direct comparison between your wrist monitor and the in-office equipment can help identify any margins of error and improve your at-home blood pressure readings. Which in turn can ensure the healthiest you!
Heres a quick video that will walk you through how to take your blood pressure at home with a wrist monitor:
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Check Your Monitor For Accuracy
An accurate wrist cuff monitor is crucial to reaching your blood pressure goals. If you have a new monitor, bring it with you to your next doctor appointment. Ask the nurse to check your pressure with their device and yours, to compare both readings.
If you already have a monitor, bring it with you once a year to make sure it remains accurate
What Else Do I Need To Know
- Do not take a BP reading in an arm that is injured or has an IV or shunt.
- Take your BP medicines as directed. Do not stop taking your medicines if your BP is at your goal. A BP at your goal means your medicine is working correctly.
- Bring the BP machine to your follow-up visit. Your healthcare provider can check that you are using it correctly.
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Correct Arm Position For Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor
Wrist monitors have gained in popularity lately for various reasons. Similar to an upper arm cuff monitor, the position of the arm is crucial for obtaining an accurate measurement. Because of the increased popularity, many people have been inquiring, what is the correct arm position for a wrist blood pressure monitor?
To obtain the correct arm position for a wrist blood pressure monitor the elbow should rest comfortably on a level surface. The elbow should then be bent and the wrist raised so the cuff is at heart level. The wrist and hand have to remain relaxed and not bent backward or forward.
If arm position is unproperly executed, theres a decent chance your readings will be inaccurate 1. Ill inform you about tips to help accomplish the correct position and the most common errors to avoid that most people are making right now. In addition, Ill explain how your readings will be inaccurate and by how much.
BP Tip: Did you know you can lower BP naturally by changing how you breathe a few times a day? Theres a device approved by the FDA and The American Heart Association gave it the thumbs up. It simply guides your breathing for you a few minutes a day which has been proven to lower blood pressure. You can check it out in the manufacturers website by .
How Do I Assemble And Apply The D
When the cuff is assembled correctly, the hook material will be on the outside of the cuff loop and the metal d-ring will not touch your skin. If the cuff is not assembled, pass the end of the cuff furthest from the tubing through the metal d-ring to form a loop. The smooth cloth should be on the inside of the cuff loop.
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How Do I Take My Bp
You can take your BP 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 your BP.
- Rest quietly for 5 minutes before you take your BP.
- Sit with your feet flat on the floor and your back against a chair.
- Extend your arm and support it on a flat surface. Your arm should be at the same level as your heart.
- 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 the BP. Take your BP 2 times and write down both readings. Use the same arm each time. These BP readings can be 1 minute apart.
Dos And Dont Of Taking Blood Pressure Measurement
Please try to follow these guidelines to get an accurate reading, as failing to do so can result in an inaccurately high reading.
- Dont exercise, consume caffeine or alcohol, or smoke tobacco 30-45 minutes before taking the measurement
- Dont be in a stressed state of mind immediately before or during the measurement
- Dont hold a full bladder
- Dont engage in conversation or active listening during the measurement
- Dont wrap the cuff over your clothing or use a cuff thats the wrong size for your body
- Dont sit crossed-legged
- Dont contract your biceps or clench your fist
- Do relax and support your arm during the measurement
- Do rest for a few minutes before taking the measurement
- Do sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your back supported
- Do wrap the cuff snugly but not too tightly one finger should be able to fit under the cuff but not more
Additional tip: Blood pressure can fluctuate even in a short period of time. To get a more accurate insight, you can take two to three measurements one minute apart from each other and average the results.
BP measurements can differ slightly between your left and right arm, this is normal, but a big difference can indicate a serious health problem.
When To Talk With A Professional
Getting your blood pressure taken is a standard part of most medical appointments, but its not always the best way to get an understanding of your blood pressure. After all, your blood pressure is affected by the things you do throughout your day, and a single high or low reading might not reflect your normal blood pressure.
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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How To Take Your Blood Pressure At Home
Tips for using a blood pressure cuff or wireless blood pressure monitor for accurate readings.
Taking your blood pressure at home is easy with a digital blood pressure monitor.
Every time your heart beats, it pumps blood through your circulatory system, putting pressure on your blood vessels the veins, arteries and capillaries. This is known as your blood pressure and without it, your bones, muscles, organs and other tissues wouldnt get the oxygen and nutrients they need. Your bodys various systems, like the immune and digestive systems, also wouldnt function without blood pressure.
But there can always be too much of a good thing, right? High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, occurs when the force against your blood vessel walls becomes too high, which can kick your heart into overdrive and lead to serious health problems like heart attack and stroke.