A Blood Pressure Reading Gives Two Numbers
The top systolic reading gives the pressure of your blood on your arteries at it travels around your body.
The bottom diastolic reading is the lowest pressure on your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
Enter these numbers into the blood pressure calculator and Submit. The blood pressure calculator will instantly summarise your reading and give recommendations.
Record readings entered into the blood pressure checker to monitor changes and seek medical advice if you are concerned about any results using the blood pressure calculator.
Does The Size Of The Cuff Matter
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.
What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
Your blood pressure reading consists of two numbers, such as 120/80. One number is your systolic blood pressure and the other is your diastolic pressure.
Systolic blood pressure: The first number . This is the pressure when the heart pumps blood out to the rest of the body.
Diastolic blood pressure: The second number . This is the pressure when blood returns to the heart.
Both pressures are measured in millimeters of mercury . This is because blood pressure used to be measured using a device filled with a column of mercury. Now, blood pressure can be checked using an automated machine at home or in your providers office. Blood pressure can still be checked by hand, too, with a stethoscope, inflatable cuff, and manual gauge.
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What Causes High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure usually develops over time. It can happen because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as not getting enough regular physical activity. Certain health conditions, such as diabetes and having obesity, can also increase the risk for developing high blood pressure. High blood pressure can also happen during pregnancy.
You can manage your blood pressure to lower your risk for serious health problems that may affect your heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes.
What Is A Blood Pressure Measurement
Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood into your arteries. A blood pressure measurement is a test that measures the force in your arteries as your heart pumps. Blood pressure is measured as two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure measures pressure inside your arteries when the heart beats.
- Diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure inside the artery when the heart rests between beats.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects tens of millions of adults in the United States. It increases the risk of life-threatening conditions including heart attack and stroke. But high blood pressure rarely causes symptoms. A blood pressure measurement helps diagnose high blood pressure early, so it may be treated before it leads to serious complications.
Other names: blood pressure reading, blood pressure test, blood pressure screening, sphygmomanometry
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How Can I Check My Blood Pressure At Home Using
But you dont need to go to your doctor just to get a blood pressure reading. The easiest way to monitor your own blood pressure at home is to get a machine that has a blood pressure calculator and digital display.
Purchase a blood pressure monitor cuff that wraps around the upper arm. The cuff should fit well, and not be too loose or too tight when not in use. Wrist and finger monitors are not recommended because the readings arent as reliable. When choosing a blood pressure monitor, take it to your doctors office. They may be able to show you how to use it properly and check whether the machine provides accurate readings.
Here are some tips to follow while measuring your blood pressure at home:
- Before measuring your blood pressure, sit quietly for 5 minutes with your arm relaxed on a supporting surface at the level of your heart.
- Your back should be supported and both feet should be flat on the floor.
- The cuff should be positioned on your upper arm as instructed on the guide that came with the monitor. It is easier to use your non-dominant arm .
- Avoid caffeine, smoking, or exercise at least 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure. Do not take a reading if stressed or angry.
Blood pressure categories defined by the American Heart Association are as follows:
- Normal: Below 120/80 mm Hg
- Prehypertension: 120-139/80-90 mm Hg
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.
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What Constitutes High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, happens when the heart pumps blood against the artery walls at higher pressures than normal. It doesnt cause any symptoms, so the only way to know whether its high is to check it. But it isnt diagnosed from just one reading. You need at least two or more readings on two or more separate days before you can know whether you have high blood pressure. This is because your blood pressure changes from day to day and throughout each day, depending on what youre doing. It can increase temporarily from:
Stress or anxiety
What Blood Pressure Is Too High
There are different categories for normal, elevated, and high blood pressure, according to 2017 guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.
Normal: systolic below 120 and diastolic below 80
Elevated: systolic 120129 and diastolic below 80
High : systolic above 130 and diastolic above 80
You have high blood pressure if one or both numbers in your blood pressure reading are high.
The category of hypertension is further divided into stages:
Stage 1: systolic 130139 and diastolic 8089
Stage 2: systolic at or above 140 and diastolic at or above 90
These stages are used to make decisions about how to treat high blood pressure. For example, if your blood pressure is in stage 1, you may not need to treat it with medications right away.
A blood pressure with a systolic reading at or above 180 or a diastolic reading at or above 120 is very elevated. This is called hypertensive crisis. Even when your blood pressure is this high, you may not have any symptoms. Without symptoms, this is also referred to as hypertensive urgency.
In some cases, blood pressure this high can damage other organs in the body, which causes symptoms. This is called hypertensive emergency, and some of the complications can be life-threatening. Affected organs can include the:
Depending on which organ is involved, you can have different symptoms. For example, if the heart is affected, you may have chest pain. Other symptoms to look for include:
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Which Number Is More Important
Typically, more attention is given to systolic blood pressure as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50. In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to the increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term buildup of plaque and an increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease.
However, either an elevated systolic or an elevated diastolic blood pressure reading may be used to make a diagnosis of high blood pressure. According to recent studies, the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles with every 20 mm Hg systolic or 10 mm Hg diastolic increase among people from age 40 to 89.
Healthy And Unhealthy Blood Pressure Ranges
Learn whats considered normal, as recommended by the American Heart Association.
|SYSTOLIC mm Hg||and/or||DIASTOLIC mm Hg|
|HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE STAGE 1||130 139|
|HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE STAGE 2||140 OR HIGHER|
|HYPERTENSIVE CRISIS||HIGHER THAN 180||and/or||HIGHER THAN 120|
Note: A diagnosis of high blood pressure must be confirmed with a medical professional. A doctor should also evaluate any unusually low blood pressure readings.
The five blood pressure ranges as recognized by the American Heart Association are:
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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.
Causes Of Low Blood Pressure
Its important to know what causes your blood pressure to drop. Hypotension occurs when your body cant bring your blood pressure back to normal fast enough after an event causes it to drop.
Factors that lower blood pressure can vary from person to person. In some cases, being dehydrated is enough to cause a dip. For others, certain medicines can lower pressure. Other things that can affect blood pressure include:
- Over-the-counter cold medicines
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How Can I Treat High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is very treatable. Treatment includes medications and changes you can make in your everyday life. Changes you can make to lower your blood pressure include:
Eating less salt
In some cases, making these changes may be enough to lower your blood pressure. If your blood pressure remains high, you may need to start taking medication to bring it down.
Common Causes Of Inaccurate Readings
A number of factors can affect your blood pressure and heart rate. If your numbers are unusually high or low, make some adjustments before trying again:
- Stress. When youre worried, stress hormones temporarily elevate both your blood pressure and heart rate. Avoid stressors before checking your blood pressure at home.
- Drug and alcohol use. Tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine can affect your numbers, so avoid stimulants and depressants.
- Other medicines. Talk with your doctor about prescription and over-the-counter medicines that may interfere with an accurate reading.
Once you determine your heart rate and blood pressure, record them in a journal or app. Try taking your pulse and checking your blood pressure around the same time every day to establish a personalized baseline. Its that baseline your doctor will use to help you determine what your numbers mean.
To schedule a comprehensive heart screening, visit UPMCs Heart and Vascular Institute.
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Not Using The Cuff Correctly
Make sure you are wrapping the cuff around your arm in the correct position. After wrapping the cuff around your arm, check the location of the brachial artery marker. The air tube should run down the center of your arm. The cuff should not be wrapped too tight or too loose. Look at the instruction manual for the monitor to get more detailed instructions on the specific cuff included with your unit.
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.
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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.
What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the measure of how hard your blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it moves through your body. Your body is designed to adjust your blood pressure to make sure your organs and tissue receive enough oxygen.
Blood pressure is indicated by two numbers formatted as a fraction, like 120/80. The systolic number indicates how hard your blood pushes when your heart pumps, and the diastolic number measures how hard your blood pushes between heartbeats when your heart relaxes and fills with blood.
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Fasting For High Blood Pressure
Surprisingly, there is another way to treat high blood pressure, with better results than medication, dieting, reducing your salt intake, exercising, managing your stress, not smoking or drinking. And this scientifically proven method is called fasting.
After doing my 7-day cleanse, people see their blood pressure drop dramatically. And the best part is that if you decide after your cleanse to follow my extreme advice , you may be able to stay off your medication for good.
The Retreat with Nick Knowles, a famous case study
In 2015, I participated in the filming of the British TV series The Retreat with Nick Knowles, where a group of unhealthy participants joined to change their lives during a one-month detox retreat. The program involved my 7 day fast followed by a healthy vegan diet and daily yoga.
Some were diagnosed with high blood pressure. After a month of filming, the participants had gone from dangerously high blood pressure to what is considered to be in the normal range.
They were also able to lower their cholesterol and to lose weight. Lets look at the results of two of the participants.
What Is A Normal Blood Pressure Reading
Do you know what your blood pressure reading should be?
Blood pressure is the force at which your heart pumps blood around the body and is recorded with 2 numbers. The higher of the numbers is an indication of when the heart is pumping the lower number is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. Its widely publicised that high and low blood pressure can induce health problems, but what about healthy blood pressure?
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Youve Placed The Cuff Incorrectly
The standard for blood pressure cuff placement is the upper arm using a cuff on bare skin with a stethoscope placed at the elbow fold over the brachial artery.
The patient should be sitting, with the arm supported at mid heart level, legs uncrossed, and not talking. Measurements can be made at other locations such as the wrist, fingers, feet, and calves but will produce varied readings depending on distance from the heart.
The mean pressure, interestingly, varies little between the aorta and peripheral arteries, while the systolic pressure increases and the diastolic decreases in the more distal vessels.
Crossing the legs increases systolic blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg. About 20 percent of the population has differences of more than 10 mmHg pressure between the right and left arms. In cases where significant differences are observed, treatment decisions should be based on the higher of the two pressures.