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The scary thing is that high blood pressure usually doesn’t come with any symptoms. It’s so symptomless, in fact, that it’s nicknamed the “silent killer.” Anyone at risk for high blood pressure should stay keenly aware of their blood pressure levels. Even if you’re generally healthy and don’t have a family history of hypertension, it’s still worth checking your blood pressure every so often.
Since you probably won’t trek to the doctor’s office every day, week or month to get checked, here’s a handy guide to monitoring your blood pressure at home.
The Quardio Arm wireless blood pressure monitor
What Is Blood Pressure
In the most basic sense, blood pressure is a way of measuring how much force is being exerted on the walls of your blood vessels as blood flows through them. A blood measurement is expressed in the form of a fraction.
- Systolic is the top number. It represents the pressure as your heart contracts to pump blood to the body.
- Diastolic is the bottom number. It represents the pressure between beats, when your heart relaxes.
How To Take Your Blood Pressure At Home Using An Upper Arm Monitor
Please note, this page is printable by selecting the normal print options on your computer.
Why is it important to check blood pressure during pregnancy?
Some women may develop either high or low blood pressure during pregnancy. A high blood pressure often needs to be monitored more closely during pregnancy. Your blood pressure will be checked at each antenatal appointment. Your Consultant may ask that you check your blood pressure at home and will provide a blood pressure machine for you to do this.
When will you be asked to take your blood pressure? On the morning of your clinic appointment if you have normal blood pressure Once a week if you are at higher risk of getting high blood pressure One to three times a week if you have high blood pressure
Check with your midwife or doctor how often they would like you to monitor your blood pressure.
How to check your blood pressure Always measure your blood pressure using the same arm . Wear loose clothing with sleeves that roll up easily and do not feel tight when rolled up or take your arm out of the clothing. Sit on a chair with your back supported and both feet flat on the floor. Rest for five minutes before beginning to take blood pressure readings. Slip the cuff onto your arm so that the air tube points towards your wrist. Adjust the bottom edge of the cuff so that it is about 2cm above the inside of the elbow joint. Tighten the cuff around the arm and secure using the Velcro.
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Who This Is For
Nearly half of Americans have high blood pressure , according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High blood pressure forces your heart to work harder, putting a burden on the rest of your body. A home blood pressure monitor is not a diagnostic device, but a tool to help you keep track of your blood pressure between checkups.
The American Heart Association defines hypertension as having either a systolic reading over 130, or a diastolic reading over 80 mm Hg for adults over the age of 20, and prehypertension as 120/80 mm Hg or above. These numbers refer to the pressure of blood against your blood-vessel walls. The first number is the systolic pressure, measured when the heart beats the second number is the diastolic pressure, measured when the heart rests between beats.
The American Heart Association and many doctors recommend a blood pressure monitor for home use to help people with high blood pressure manage the condition. The daily use of a monitor can help a person track their blood pressure and prompt them to seek emergency care. At-home monitoring is also useful for patients who experience white coat syndrome, where the stress of visiting the doctors office causes blood pressure to spike. Still, keep in mind that home monitoring is meant to accompanynot replaceregular monitoring by a physician.
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 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.
Are The Readings Different Between An Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor And A Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor
It is quite possible that your readings may be different from your upper arm to your wrist as blood pressure varies throughout the human body. All Omron blood pressure monitors, whether upper arm or wrist, are validated in the same manner and have the same accuracy specifications. In terms of which type of blood pressure monitor is best for you, we recommend that you discuss this with your doctor, based on your individual needs.
For more information on Omrons line of upper arm and wrist home blood pressure monitors, click below:
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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.
Can I Take A Blood Pressure Reading Measurement During Exercise
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.
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Wrap Cuff Around Partner’s Arm
- Tuck the end of the cuff through the metal loop and slide onto your partners arm. Using the Velcro on the cuff, secure the cuff roughly one half inch above the bend of the elbow.
- The cuff will have a line or arrow marked on it so that it can be properly placed around the arm.
- Make sure the line or arrow lines up with the brachial artery in the inner elbow. The pulse felt in step one gives the general position of the brachial artery.
- The cuff should fit snugly so that the skin is not pinched.
- It should be possible to fit two fingertips under the cuff, but not the entirety of the fingers.
Our Pick: Greater Goods Blood Pressure Monitor + Kit 0602
May be out of stock
If you dont need or want a Bluetooth monitor, the Greater Goods Blood Pressure Monitor + Kit 0602 has the same cuff, minimal noise levels, two-user maximum, irregular heartbeat detection, and dual-power options as its Bluetooth-enabled counterpart, with a slightly different display. Like the 0604, this blood pressure monitor is usable immediately out of the box, and switching between userswhile not as easy as with the 0604requires only a couple of button pushes.
Like the 0604, the 0602 runs quietly and displays results for about a minute after delivering your reading. Unlike the 0604, the 0602 is unable to average any measurements, though it can store up to 60 entries per user, if you want to calculate your averages manually. There is no way to export your readings via email, USB, Bluetooth, or any other meansyoull need to write them down or log them digitally on your own.
While the 0602 can work on either battery power or with an AC adapter, unless there are working batteries installed, it resets the date and time every time its unplugged. When this happens, previous readings stay in the machine, but its possible to jumble dates and times if a user is rushed and simply clicks through without properly selecting the month, year, day, hour, and minute.
When set up correctly, the 0602 requires two clicks to start, even when theres only one user on the device, versus the 0604s single click.
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Why You Should Trust Us
To learn what makes a reliable home blood pressure monitor, we interviewed three physicians with years of clinical experience in blood pressure management: Daichi Shimbo, a cardiologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and a member of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation Samuel Mann, an internal medicine specialist at the Weill Cornell Medicine Hypertension Center and Veronica Gillispie-Bell, an obstetrician-gynecologist and the director of quality for womens services at Ochsner Health in Louisiana. We also combed through literature from the American Heart Association, among other medical organizations, and read hundreds of customer reviews.
How To Use A Bp Machine
What Types of BP Machine Are Available and How To Choose the Right BP Machine?
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Size of the BP Machine:Price of the BP Machine:Display of the BP Machine:Sound of the BP Machine:Read More: How To Get Ready For BP Reading at Home?
- Wait for 30 minutes if you have eaten or used caffeine, alcohol tobacco or products based on these.
- Go to the bathroom and empty your bladder fully.
- Rest for 5-6 minutes without talking at all
- Sit in a comfortable, legs uncrossed position with a little support for your back
- Elevate your hand to the level of your heart and place it on a desk or raised platform
- Place and tighten the cuff around your bare arm. Make sure that once you tighten the cuff there is at least a pace of one finger between the inner walls of the cuff and your arm
- Make sure the cuff is in the right place. There should be a gap of 1 inch between the upper crease of the elbow and the cuff
How To Use Aneroid BP Machine?
Step 1: Place the earpiece of the stethoscope in your ears
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Blood Pressure Assessment Tips
Keep learning about blood pressure assessment by reading how to mitigate NIBP and auscultating innacuracies by watching the plethysmography waveform on your pulse oximeter and noting the mean arterial pressure.
Read next: Learn how to read a MAP.
1. James PA, Oparil S, Carter BL, et al. 2014 Evidence-Based Guideline for the Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults: Report From the Panel Members Appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee . JAMA. 2014 311:507-520.
2. Pickering TG, Hall JE, Appel LJ, et al. AHA Scientific Statement: Recommendations for blood pressure measurement in humans and experimental animals, part 1: blood pressure measurement in humans. Hypertension. 2005 45: 142-161.
3. Deakin CD, Low JL. Accuracy of the advanced trauma life support guidelines for predicting systolic blood pressure using carotid, femoral, and radial pulses: observational study. BMJ. 2000 321: 673674.
4. Lehman LH, Saeed M, Talmor D, Mark R, Malhotra A. Methods of blood pressure measurement in the ICU. Crit Care Med. 2013 41:34-40.
This article, originally posted Apr. 9, 2014, has been updated.
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One sheet: Common blood pressure reading mistakes
What Are Some Common Reasons Why My Blood Pressure Readings Seem Higher Than Expected
There are many reasons why blood pressure readings may seem high. Below are some of the common reasons and the estimated ranges of how much readings can vary. It is important to ensure you are using the monitor as it was intended, so please make sure you are following the directions in the instruction manual, or call our consumer support line at if you have questions. It is also important to note that if you can continue to see high readings, discuss with your doctor or a medical professional it is possible that your blood pressure is actually higher than what you believe it to be.
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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.
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.
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What Kind Of Blood Pressure Cuff Should You Use
Of the two types of at-home blood pressure cuffsa wrist cuff and an upper arm cuffexperts generally recommend using an upper arm cuff because they are more accurate.
Experts also recommend opting for a digital monitor over a manual one. Automated electronic machines using an upper arm cuff are usually accurate, says Dr. Del Conde. If there is any question about their accuracy, they can be validated against a blood pressure machine at a doctors office.
Systolic More Than 130
With a systolic reading higher than 130 mm Hg or a diastolic reading of 80 mm Hg or above, youre experiencing hypertension, and your doctor will determine a treatment plan.
You should always contact your doctor if youre worried about blood pressure results. For more information about high blood pressure, check out this article.
Systolic more than 180 or diastolic more than 120?
If the systolic number of your blood pressure reading is greater than 180 mm Hg or the diastolic number is more than 120 mm Hg, you should seek immediate medical attention, particularly if you have symptoms like headache, arm pain, or blurred vision.
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How Do I Pair My Blood Pressure Monitor To My Mobile Device
Download the Omron Connect app from either Google Play or App Store. Turn on your phones Bluetooth and make sure its visible to other devices and launch the app. First create an account, then you can begin pairing your devices. Make sure your blood pressure monitor is clear. To do this, press the start/stop button. Now press and hold the clock button on your monitor until the flashing O appears. You mobile device will indicate that pairing is complete and that your readings have been uploaded. For more information, watch the video.