Check Your Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force or pressure exerted in the arteries by the blood as it is pumped around the body by the heart. It is recorded as two measurements:
- Systolic pressure: pressure in the arteries during the period of the heart’s contraction
- Diastolic pressure: pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxed, between heartbeats
A doctor or nurse can listen to your blood pressure by placing a stethoscope on your artery and pumping up a cuff placed around your arm. The blood pressure is read on a special meter called a sphygmomanometer.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury , which refers to how high the pressure in the arteries can raise a column of mercury in the sphygmomanometer.
What Does Your Blood Pressure Reading Mean
If this is your first time taking your blood pressure, discuss the results with your doctor. Blood pressure is a very individualized vital sign reading, which means it can be very different for each person. Some people have naturally low blood pressure all the time, for example, while others may run on the higher side.
In general, a normal blood pressure is considered anything less than 120/80. Your own personal blood pressure will depend on your gender, age, weight, and any medical conditions you have. If you do register a blood pressure reading of 120/80 or over, wait two to five minutes and recheck.
If its still high, talk to your doctor to rule out hypertension. If your blood pressure ever goes over 180 systolic or over 120 diastolic after a repeat reading, seek emergency medical care right away.
Also Check: Does Claritin D Raise Blood Pressure
Other Technologies Are In Development
The authors of the current study acknowledge other cuffless technologies are being developed, but so far, many developing solutions have problems with either convenience or accuracy, they write.
The smartphone technology described in the current article has a couple of primary advantages, they say.
First, it can independently measure systolic and diastolic blood pressure without calibration. It also offers convenience.
People in settings with few resources may not have access to cuffs, and others may have to go to pharmacies and other locations to get them. Even if people own a cuff, they are unlikely to carry it with them wherever they go, but they would likely carry a phone.
The researchers note that about 3 billion people globally are expected to have smartphones by 2020, and widespread use in low-income nations is expected as marketplace competition increases.
“Screening for hypertension may be the main clinical application of the device, especially in the 20- to 50-year-old segment of the population who are often technology savvy and health conscious but may be at risk for early development of hypertension,” the authors write.
Some limitations mentioned in the study are that the device can’t take nighttime readings and may not be usable for people who lack fine motor skills.
You May Like: Can Kidneys Cause High Blood Pressure
How To Accurately Measure Blood Pressure At Home
Please note: This article was published more than two years ago, so some information may be outdated. If you have questions about your health, always contact a health care professional.
High blood pressure is one of the top risk factors for heart attack and stroke. It’s also common among people who develop severe COVID-19 symptoms.
So, with more people at home practicing social distancing and with fewer chances to check blood pressure at public pharmacy machines or doctor visits, it’s more important than ever to know how to do it at home.
How do I select a home blood pressure monitor?
“The readings you get at home are really important, because they reflect the pressure your heart is facing on a day-to-day basis,” said Dr. Michael Hochman, a doctor of internal medicine at Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California.
A list of validated home monitors, the first in the United States and commissioned to meet the American Medical Association’s criteria, is available at validateBP.org. The Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, the British Hypertension Society and the European Society of Hypertension also certify devices.
The device should measure blood pressure on the upper arm, which produce a more reliable result than those that measure from the wrist.
Many devices are automated. Simply put on the cuff and press a button. The results are displayed digitally.
Your health care provider should check the device about once a year to ensure its accuracy.
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.
You May Like: What Does Blood Pressure Reading Mean
How Do You Check Your Blood Pressure With Your Fingers
Most doctors recommend the use of a blood pressure machine to check blood pressure. An individual may check heart rate with their fingers, but not blood pressure. Data shows checking blood pressure using fingers may not be accurate though there is an obscure method to correlate the pulse reading with systolic blood pressure. Blood pressure must be always measured using validated equipment.
Place the fingers on the inside of the wrist to locate the pulse. Now, take two fingers and place them just below the wrist creases on the thumb side of the hand. A strong pulse felt at the wrist correlates to the systolic blood pressure of at least 80 mmHg. This method is not always correct and hence not recommended.
It is important to use the correct technique to obtain an accurate measurement. Blood pressure is the force the blood exerts on the sides of the blood vessels as it moves ahead and is an important indicator of health. The pulse will give the basic information required to estimate the systolic blood pressure . Keep in mind this is a very rough estimate and only indicates if the systolic blood pressure is not low. Blood pressure monitoring should be done with a cuff and a stethoscope. However, recent advances in technology have made budget-friendly automatic blood pressure monitors easily available in pharmacies.
Blood Pressure Cuff Size
When it comes to blood pressure cuffs, size does matter. The wrong size cuff can cause your readings to be either too high or low. Most home monitors and cuffs have an arm size range on the cuff.
Some home monitors come with one size range cuff and others may give you a choice of cuffs. If your arm size changes, some monitor cuffs can be changed to a different size .
Before you purchase a home monitor, make sure you know what cuff size youre getting. The home monitor I use and recommend comes with a standard cuff size that fits most people. It measures between 8.75 and 16.5.
The best way to measure your upper arm is with a cloth measuring tape. Keep your arm relaxed, supported or hanging straight down. Wrap the measuring tape around the middle of your upper arm and make sure it is even all the way around.
Make a note of your measurement and make sure it falls within the range of the cuff youre buying.
Blood pressure cuff placement is one of 14 sections in my article about blood pressure cuffs. Learn more about BP cuffs, including how to apply them, errors made and sizes, here in the article, Blood Pressure Cuffs.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Normal Range For Blood Pressure
Record Your Blood Pressure Numbers
To help you better manage your daily blood pressure readings, write down both your systolic and diastolic pressures and the date and time in a log. Organize your records so both you and your doctor can use them to treat and manage your condition. If a reading seems unusual, you may want to repeat it to be sure. Wait at least a minute, then take off the cuff and start over dont just reinflate it. Some doctors recommend taking two to three readings each time.
How To Dispose Of Single
Some of the supplies you use to test your blood sugar are intended for single use only and need to be disposed of safely to prevent others from contact with used and potentially harmful supplies. It is important to carefully dispose of:
- Needles, for those who take insulin
- Test strips
For at-home containment of used testing supplies, the Food and Drug Administration recommends getting an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container. These are typically available from pharmacies, healthcare providers, medical supply companies, or online. Some local regulations allow alternative disposal containers, like an empty, heavy-duty plastic detergent bottle with a tight-fitting, puncture and leak-resistant lid.
When your sharps container reaches the full line or is three-quarters full, dispose of it by following your local guidelines for biohazardous materials. Some communities have collection sites, special pick-up services, or mail-back programs. To learn more, see the FDAs article on safe disposal for used needles and sharps.
Once you have completed your test, immediately place the single-use testing supplies into a sharps container to reduce the chances of a loose lancet or needle poking you or others. Some lancets come with safety caps to cover the exposed needle during the removal and disposal process. Safety caps should be used if you do not have immediate access to a sharps container.
Measuring Your Blood Pressure
How To Check Blood Pressure
Blood pressure can be measured either by Palpation Method or Auscultation. Steps to measure blood pressure are:
Mercury or Aneroid Blood Pressure Apparatus is the most suitable variety to measure blood pressure using auscultation. A trained practitioner will be able to operate these better.
Aneroid and Mercury Blood Pressure monitors have a similar method of function. However, aneroid is free from mercury. Therefore the risk of mercury spillage can be avoided completely.
Don’t Miss: Are Apples Good For High Blood Pressure
How Accurate Are Pulse Oximeters
Assuming that your pulse oximeter is FDA approved, and assuming that you know how to use it properly, a pulse oximeter generally has an accuracy rate of ~4% it means your actual Oxygen Saturation could be 4% above or below the reading.
Be aware that multiple factors can affect the accuracy of a pulse oximeter reading, such as poor circulation, your skin pigmentation, your skin thickness, temperature, use of fake nails or fingernail polish and last but not least how high is the PI value when you take the reading.
What Are The 2 Readings On A Pulse Oximeter
Here, Ill cover the main parameters fingertip pulse oximeters typically use and how theyre displayed.
Oxygen saturation: This is the amount of oxygen in the blood. Its labeled as the SpO2 on a pulse oximeter and/or is a number thats shown as a percentage . A normal reading is usually between 95-100%.
Pulse rate: This is your heart rate. The units for pulse rate are always given in beats per minute .
On your pulse oximeter, it can be displayed with PR, PR/min, PRbpm or something of that variety next to it. For some fingertip pulse oximeters, you might also see a heart shape next to it. Normal pulse rate is usually between 60-100 beats per minute.
Perfusion index: This tells you the strength of your pulse. Not all fingertip pulse oximeters will give you a perfusion index reading. If they do, its usually displayed as PI and as a percentage value .
A value of less than 0.2% means that either your finger is not properly positioned on the pulse oximeter sensor or your hands are too cold because of improper blood flow.
Pulse oximeters that measure the perfusion index are helpful so you know if your pulse is strong enough to give an accurate reading.
Pulse strength: Not all pulse oximeters will show pulse strength.
This is usually a visual representation of how strong your pulse is and is often shown as a series of bars increasing in height. A strong pulse strength is a good sign that you will get a more accurate reading.
Recommended Reading: What Would Be Considered Low Blood Pressure
What Is The Difference Between The Comfit Cuff And The D
The ComFit cuff is pre-formed to wrap easily around your upper arm. It features 360Âº around the circumference of your arm to help reduce measurement errors and ensure inflation over your brachial artery. The D-Ring cuff is a soft contoured cuff that is designed for more comfortable measurement. This style is typically seen in a doctors office. You loop one end of the cuff through the D-shaped metal ring, put your arm through the cuff and then fasten the end around the arm. Both cuffs fit a standard- to large-sized adult arm. 9 to 17 in circumference.
When purchasing an at-home blood pressure monitor, it is important to know your proper cuff size. To determine your arm size, use a cloth measuring tape and measure the circumference of your left upper arm midway between your elbow and shoulder. The blood pressure cuff must be neither too tight nor too loose to help ensure accurate readings, providing you with an accurate picture of your hearts health.
Current Drawbacks Of Cuff
Several limitations pertain to the currently available cuff-less BP technology.
Second, the current measurement methods based on PTT and tonometry are sensitive to motion artifact and loss of signal upon movement. In several of the aforementioned studies on cuff-less PTT-based devices, researchers encountered a high rate of measurement errors and calibration errors . Tonometry-based cuff-less devices need to be tightly coupled to the underlying artery usually with an adhesive tape to prevent loss of coupling and loss of measurements .
Additionally, the software and data transfer on the back end of most of the cuff-less BP measurement modalities is critically underdeveloped. This is a clinically relevant concern, since frequent BP self-measurement without a co-intervention from a healthcare provider does not seem to affect BP control much .
Finally, for all of the current cuff-less BPT technologies, it is presently unclear how the measured values in real life will relate to clinical or cuff-based home BP measurements. Because cuff-less methods make it much easier to perform measurements on the go, it is likely that these measurements are substantially different from resting BP values. Prospective clinical studies would need to assess how these measurements compare to conventional BP measurements, and what values or trends are ultimately associated with adverse outcomes. This would provide a scientific basis for medication adjustments using cuff-less BPT.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Meaning Of Blood Pressure
The Instant Blood Pressure App Estimates Blood Pressure With Your Smartphone And Our Algorithm
Do not rely on Instant Blood Pressure for medical advice or diagnosis. It is not as accurate as and is not a substitute for a cuff or other blood pressure monitor. It is not suitable for use by individuals whose blood pressure falls outside of our supported Systolic range of 83 – 178 or our supported Diastolic range of 58-107 .
Learn the science & performance characteristics
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
You May Like: Does The New Apple Watch Monitor Blood Pressure