What Your Blood Pressure Reading Means
Blood pressure readings include two numbers. The top number is called the systolic blood pressure and it changes with every heartbeat, says Dr. Del Conde. When the heart contracts and pumps extra blood into the circulatory system, the pressure increases. This increased pressure corresponds to the top number, or the systolic blood pressure.
The bottom number is called the diastolic blood pressure. When the heart is at rest and not contracting, the pressure that exists within the system is called the diastolic pressure, says Dr. Del Conde.
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What Do Blood Pressure Readings Tell You
Blood pressure is measured using two different readings. Heres what they mean:
- Systolic pressure. The first reading is called your systolic pressure. Its the first or top number in a reading. Systolic pressure measures the pressure inside your arteries when your heart is contracting to pump blood.
- Diastolic pressure. The second reading is your diastolic number. Its the second or bottom number. Diastolic pressure measures the pressure inside your arteries when your heart relaxes between beats.
For example, you may see blood pressure written as 117/80 mm Hg . In that case, the systolic pressure is 117 and the diastolic pressure is 80.
Normal blood pressure is considered less than 120/80 mm Hg. This number can vary for many reasons.
Higher numbers in either measurement can be a sign that your heart is working extra hard to pump blood through your arteries. This may be the result of an external trigger, like if youre feeling stressed or scared. When this happens, it can cause your blood vessels to get narrower.
Higher blood pressure measurements could also be caused by an internal force, such as the buildup of plaque or fatty deposits in your arteries. This can also cause your blood vessels to become narrower, which, in turn, can increase your blood pressure.
- before or after you take a certain medication
- at certain times of the day
- when youre stressed or feeling dizzy
How To Check Your Blood Pressure With A Sphygmomanometer
This article was co-authored by Laura Marusinec, MD. Dr. Marusinec is a board certified Pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, where she is on the Clinical Practice Council. She received her M.D. from the Medical College of Wisconsin School of Medicine in 1995 and completed her residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Pediatrics in 1998. She is a member of the American Medical Writers Association and the Society for Pediatric Urgent Care.There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 11 testimonials and 95% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 742,242 times.
It’s a good idea to have your blood pressure checked regularly. However, if you suffer from “white coat hypertension” a state of anxiety which causes your blood pressure to skyrocket as soon as you are approached by a medical professional wearing a dreaded stethoscope it can be difficult to get an accurate reading. Taking your own readings at home can eliminate this anxiety and allow you to estimate your average blood pressure in day-to-day, real-life situations.
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Tracking Your Blood Pressure Readings
Some people use a notebook to record their blood pressure readings.
If you have an electronic personal health record, you might choose to record your information using a computer or mobile device. This gives you the option of sharing your readings with your health care providers and family members. Some blood pressure monitors upload this data automatically.
How Much Can You Afford
When buying blood pressure cuff for emts, consider your budget first. Think about how much money you want to spend on blood pressure cuff for emts and what type of return on investment you want from it. For example, if you buy a cheap blood pressure cuff for emts that breaks down quickly, your ROI will be very low perhaps even negative! But if you buy a good blood pressure cuff for emts in the first place, they may last longer and provide more value over time. This may seem obvious, but many people dont think about these things when shopping for things like blood pressure cuff for emts.
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Where Can I Learn How To Take My Blood Pressure Myself
In Germany and other countries, people with high blood pressure can attend patient education courses that teach a number of things, including how to measure your blood pressure. As part of specialized disease management programs for people who have narrow coronary arteries , statutory health insurers offer additional healthcare services. These include patient education about high blood pressure. Some doctors practices don’t offer these courses, though.
Your Readings Exhibit Prejudice
Prejudice for normal readings significantly contributes to inaccuracies in blood pressure measurement. No doubt, youd be suspicious if a fellow EMT reported blood pressures of 120/80 on three patients in a row. As creatures of habit, human beings expect to hear sounds at certain times and when extraneous interference makes a blood pressure difficult to obtain, there is considerable tendency to hear a normal blood pressure.
Orthostatic hypotension is defined as a decrease in systolic blood pressure of 20 mm Hg or more, or diastolic blood pressure decrease of 10 mm Hg or more measured after three minutes of standing quietly.
There are circumstances when BP measurement is simply not possible. For many years, trauma resuscitation guidelines taught that rough estimates of systolic BP could be made by assessing pulses. Presence of a radial pulse was thought to correlate with an SBP of at least 80 mm Hg, a femoral pulse with an SBP of at least 70, and a palpable carotid pulse with an SBP over 60. In recent years, vascular surgery and trauma studies have shown this method to be poorly predictive of actual blood pressure .
Noise is a factor that can also interfere with BP measurement. Many ALS units carry doppler units that measure blood flow with ultrasound waves. Doppler units amplify sound and are useful in high noise environments.
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Easy Strategies To Unlock Your Car With Out Your Keys
1. Use a doorstop and a metallic rod. This works biggest for autos with digital locks. Insert a door stop into the very best part of the driving forces side of the door, making a small opening. Insert the metallic rod on this opening and use it to push down the unlock button. In case you might have a car with a handbook lockset near the window, its good to use the door stop to open the small opening after which carry the lock with a crimped plastic strap.
2. Use a blood pressure cuff. In case you might have entry to a blood pressure cuff, work the cuff between the very best of the window and the door physique, and inflate this offers you a sufficiently huge gap to utilize a wire hanger to push the button that opens the door or window, says Elizabeth at The Homemakers Journal .
3. Buy an Auto Lockout Tools. There are a selection of auto lockout kits within the market, nevertheless it is worthwhile to pick out the one whichs acceptable to your car. Automotive lock select items will be utilized to unlock your car inside essentially the most safe method potential, and are terribly helpful in emergency situations. These kits embrace devices like slim jims, jigglers, door wedges, decoder devices and so forth.
4. Go to the closest police station. I did this sooner than they normally acquired once more into it for me, says Emma at Devon Mum .
Errors Using A Wrist Blood Pressure Cuff
Its easier to make an error using a wrist cuff over a standard upper arm cuff. Its because people arent used to them and the cuff is smaller allowing more movement away from heart level. The following are errors when using a wrist blood pressure cuff:
- Not keeping the wrist cuff at heart level.
- Not supporting the upper arm properly. The elbow should be supported on a comfortable surface.
- Wrapping the cuff around the protruding wrist bone.
- Wrapping the cuff too loose. There shouldnt be any space between the cuff and the skin.
- Using the wrong wrist.
Learn more details to the instructions above in my article, How To Use a Wrist Blood Pressure Cuff.
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Welcome To Our Home Monitoring Resource Hub
Here you can find resources for home monitoring, see our simple steps to get an accurate reading and make the most out of home monitoring.
Plus, read more about .
The first step to managing your blood pressure is to Know Your Numbers! Watch our video to see how to measure your blood pressure at home and use our tips and resources below to check your own blood pressure at home.
Analysis And Test Results
To find cutting-edge blood pressure cuff for emts, we developed several practical evaluations highlighting the tools that excel in specific tasks and those that lean more towards general use. These evaluations inform the metrics or the particular categories that collectively describe a quality tool and products. These categories are grip, sturdiness, convenience, and designs. The following is a detailed description of the evaluations and the best performers.
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How To Determine The Correct Blood Pressure Cuff Size
Blood pressure testing is routinely performed at doctor appointments to monitor the health of your heart and entire cardiovascular system. While good technique is necessary when taking a blood pressure, having the proper equipment is equally important. Blood pressure cuffs must be the correct size for the patientâs arm to ensure the reading is accurate. LifeLong Health explains that a cuff that is too small will give a falsely high reading whereas a cuff that is too large will give a falsely low reading.
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How Can I Measure My Blood Pressure At Home
Talk with your health care team about regularly measuring your blood pressure at home, also called self-measured blood pressure monitoring.
SMBP means you regularly use a personal blood pressure measurement device away from a doctors office or hospitalusually at home. These blood pressure monitors are easy and safe to use. A health care team member can show you how to use one if you need help.
Evidence shows that people with high blood pressure are more likely to lower their blood pressure if they use SMBP combined with support from their health care team than if they dont use SMBP.3
Use these additional tips for SMBP:4
- Use a blood pressure log to record your blood pressure measurements.
- Take your blood pressure at the same time every day.
- Take at least two readings, 1 or 2 minutes apart.
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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.
What Happens When A Blood Pressure Cuff Is Too Small
An incorrectly sized cuff is going to be either too small or too large. Of the two, having a cuff too small occurs more often 3. Therefore, lets answer a question asked many times, what happens if a blood pressure cuff is too small?
When a blood pressure cuff is too small, the blood pressure measurements are 5 mmHg systolic higher. The air bladder doesnt fully wrap around the arm and affects how the brachial artery is compressed. There is prolonged inflation which causes discomfort because the arm is squeezed for a longer time.
To check the size of your current cuff or prior to buying a new cuff, measure the circumference of your upper arm.
- Wrap a cloth tape measure evenly around the middle of the upper arm.
- Dont flex the arm and keep it straight down along the side of the torso.
- Write down the size and compare it to the size range of the current cuff or the one which may be purchased.
- If the arm size doesnt fall within the range of the current cuff, obtain a new cuff or a monitor with the correct size.
Learn more about cuffs too small in my article, Blood Pressure Cuff Too Small.
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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
Youve Incorrectly Positioned Your Patients Body
The second most common error in BP measurement is incorrect limb position. To accurately assess blood flow in an extremity, influences of gravity must be eliminated.
The standard reference level for measurement of blood pressure by any technique direct or indirect is at the level of the heart. When using a cuff, the arm where the cuff is applied must be at mid-heart level. Measuring BP in an extremity positioned above heart level will provide a falsely low BP whereas falsely high readings will be obtained whenever a limb is positioned below heart level. Errors can be significant typically 2 mmHg for each inch the extremity is above or below heart level.
A seated upright position provides the most accurate blood pressure, as long as the arm in which the pressure is taken remains at the patients side. Patients lying on their side, or in other positions, can pose problems for accurate pressure measurement. To correctly assess BP in a side lying patient, hold the BP cuff extremity at mid heart level while taking the pressure. In seated patients, be certain to leave the arm at the patients side.
Arterial pressure transducers are subject to similar inaccuracies when the transducer is not positioned at mid-heart level. This location, referred to as the phlebostatic axis, is located at the intersection of the fourth intercostal space and mid-chest level (halfway between the anterior and posterior chest surfaces.
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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.
Blood Pressure Cuff Problems
At home the blood pressure cuff may cause the following problems:
- Pain during inflation.
- Redness or red marks on the upper arm.
- Excessive squeezing by the cuff.
- The cuff is leaking.
The first three problems above are typically caused because the cuff is too small or wrapped too tight. In addition, measuring blood pressure too often can cause red marks. A leaking cuff can cause the inflation process to take longer causing discomfort.
More serious blood pressure cuff problems occur at medical facilities like hospitals. A common reason is multiple inflations and squeezing of the upper arm during surgery 8. Some surgeries can take six hours with the BP monitor set to measure blood pressure every few minutes.
In addition, repeated inflations can occur when a patient is laying in bed post surgery.
Blood pressure problems at a medical facility can result in the following medical conditions:
- Redness and swelling
- Compartment syndrome
Learn more about the above problems in my article, Blood Pressure Cuff Complications. I discuss real-life examples of patients who experienced these problems at hospitals and how each one occurred.
In addition, I wrote a whole article on petechiae. Its when red dots form on the arm from broken capillaries. Its incredible how the dots start where the edge of the cuff was and run down the whole arm.
I included some pictures in the article which you can check out right here, Petechiae From A BP Cuff.
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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.