Buying A Blood Pressure Instrument To Measure Your Blood Pressure At Home
Blood pressure instruments can be purchased in most pharmacies. Buy a blood pressure instrument that has been approved by the Association for the Advancement in Medical Instrumentation , the British Hypertension Society or the International Protocol . These labels will be marked clearly on the box. If you are unsure whether an instrument is approved, ask your pharmacist for help. Once you have bought the instrument, ask your doctor or pharmacist to check it to make sure the instrument measures your blood pressure accurately.
What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
Your blood pressure consists of two numbers: systolic and diastolic. Someone with a systolic pressure of 117 and a diastolic pressure of 78 has a blood pressure of 117/78, or “117 over 78.”
Blood pressure that is too high increases your risk for heart attack and stroke. Your blood pressure should be less than 140/90 . If you have diabetes, it should be less than 130/80 . If you are 80 years and older, it should be less than 150/90 .
If the first number is:
OR the second number is:
Your blood pressure has:
90 or more
In general, the lower your blood pressure, the better. A blood pressure reading of less than 90/60 is normal as long as you feel okay.
How Is It Treated
For most people, the goal is to reduce the blood pressure to less than 140/90. If you have diabetes or kidney disease, the goal is less than 130/80 mm Hg.
If your blood pressure is above normal , you may be able to bring it down to a normal level without medicine. Weight loss, changes in your diet, and exercise may be the only treatment you need. If you also have diabetes, you may need additional treatment.
If these lifestyle changes do not lower your blood pressure enough, your healthcare provider may prescribe medicine. Some of the types of medicines that can help are diuretics, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, and vasodilators. These medicines work in different ways. Many people need to take 2 or more medicines to bring their blood pressure down to a healthy level.
When you start taking medicine, it is important to:
- Take the medicine regularly, exactly as prescribed.
- Tell your healthcare provider about any side effects right away.
- Have regular follow-up visits with your healthcare provider.
It may not be possible to know at first which drug or mix of drugs will work best for you. It may take several weeks or months to find the best treatment for you.
Don’t Miss: Why Does Blood Pressure Increase During Exercise
What Is High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is defined as the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. High blood pressure also known as hypertension is a disease in which blood flows through blood vessels at a higher than normal pressure.
Blood pressure is measured with two numbers. The first, or top number, is the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats, called the systolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the higher of the two numbers. The second, or bottom number, measures the force of blood in your arteries while your heart is relaxed between beats. The bottom number is the lower of the two and is called the diastolic pressure.
Normal pressure is 120/80 or lower. Your blood pressure is considered high if it reads 130/80. Stage 2 high blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. If you get a blood pressure reading of 180/110 or higher more than once, seek medical treatment right away. A reading this high is considered hypertensive crisis.
Readings between 120/80 and 129/89 are considered pre-hypertension. People with pre-hypertension do not have blood pressure as low as it should be but are not yet considered to have high blood pressure.
When Is Blood Pressure Considered High
Researchers are of the opinion that normal blood pressure should not exceed 130/85 mm Hg, with the highest reading considered normal being 140/90 mm Hg. Contrary to what doctors thought for many years, blood pressure is not sufficiently controlled unless it is brought to a level lower than 140/90 mm Hg.
Blood pressure fluctuationsBlood pressure fluctuations, experienced by all people, are not a problem as long as the blood pressure returns to a normal baseline rapidly. It is the sustained increase in blood pressure that cuases havoc, especially when accompanied by risk factors and co-existing disease.
However, in people with undiagnosed hypertension, even the daily fluctuations may pose a health risk.
Hypertension often has no symptoms and may go undetected for years. All adults, even if feeling “healthy”, should be screened for high blood pressure on a regular basis.
Diagnosed, but not treated properlyIn many cases where people have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and they are receiving treatment, the patients high blood pressure is not controlled nearly well enough. Contrary to popular opinion, high blood pressure often occurs in younger people.
More than 6,2 million South Africans have blood pressure higher than 140/90 mm Hg. More than 3,2 million of these have blood pressure higher than 160/95 mm Hg, a level, which is unacceptably high, according to researchers.
Also Check: Can Claritin Cause High Blood Pressure
Blood Pressure Measurement Errors
First, its important to make sure that your blood pressure really is fluctuating. If youve made the measurements yourself using home monitoring equipment or the machines commonly found in grocery stores and pharmacies, the changes youve seen might actually be related to errors or variations in the measurement process itself.
While home blood pressure monitoring can be an effective and useful tool in some situations, you need proper training to ensure you’re using the correct technique, as performing the measurements without this training might explain the variation you see.
Drugstore machinesthe kind that requires you to sit in a chair and put your arm through a cuffare notorious for being poorly calibrated and fairly inaccurate.
To prevent erroneous reads, it is best to bring your home blood pressure monitor to your next healthcare provider’s appointment to be sure you’re using it correctly, and also bring the home readings to compare them with the readings in your healthcare provider’s office.
Alternatively, some healthcare providers recommend ambulatory blood pressure monitoring in which a device is worn by a person at home. The devices measure the blood pressure over a one- to two-day period every 15 to 20 minutes during the day and every 30 to 60 minutes at night.
This is more costly and not always available, however, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently approved national coverage for this non-invasive diagnostic test.
What To Do If Your Blood Pressure Reading Is 150/90
A blood pressure reading of 150/90 can be cause for concern. The first step is to take another reading to confirm your blood pressure.
As an aside, home blood pressure monitors are amazingly affordable and great way to stay on top of your blood pressure. So invest in your health and check out .
Elevated blood pressure should be confirmed on at least 3 separate days before diagnosing hypertension.
Already diagnosed with hypertension? If so a blood pressure in this range may indicate the need to adjust your blood pressure medications.
Once you have been assessed by a medical professional there are a number of ways you can address a blood pressure reading of 150/90.
Don’t Miss: Can High Bp Cause Chest Pain
Why Is Your Blood Pressure Important
Your blood pressure is important because if it is too high, it affects the blood flow to your organs. Over the years, this increases your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, eye disease, erectile dysfunction and other conditions.
Very occasionally, people with very high blood pressure are at serious risk of problems and need urgent treatment in hospital to reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Current Australian guidelines recommend that if you have persistent raised blood pressure over 160/100 mmHg, but are at low risk of having a stroke or heart attack, you should talk to your doctor or specialist about taking medication to lower your blood pressure.
For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
If youre over 18, you should have your blood pressure checked by your doctor at least every 2 years, or more often if advised.
How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed In A Child
Your child’s healthcare provider will diagnose high blood pressure by checking your child’s blood pressure. The provider will check blood pressure over several days or weeks before making the diagnosis. Your child’s healthcare provider will also:
Review your child’s health history, including diet, exercise, activities, and emotional health
Review your family history
Give your child a physical exam
Reliable blood pressure readings taken at home can be helpful in finding out if your child truly has high blood pressure. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring uses a device that can be worn for 24 hours. It takes multiple blood pressure readings and can help get a more accurate reading of overall blood pressure.
Your child’s provider may also order tests. These may include:
Electrocardiogram , to check your child’s heart rhythm
Echocardiogram , to check your child’s heart anatomy and function as well as any narrowing of the aorta
Also Check: Does Claritin D Raise Blood Pressure
Top Blood Pressure Number Is Key In Seniors
Even When Lower Number Normal, Don’t Ignore Top Number, Say Researchers
Aug. 31, 2004 — People aged 60 and older commonly face a unique blood pressure problem. And new research shows that this is something that shouldn’t be ignored.
Blood pressure is noted by two numbers. The upper number, systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart pumps blood throughout the body the lower number, diastolic blood pressure, is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxing .
When systolic blood pressure rises above 160 in people aged 60 and older, it’s time to consider treatment — even if the lower number is normal, less than 90. New research on systolic high blood pressure, which is much more common as we age, is published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Sarwat Chaudhry, MD, of the West Haven Veterans Affairs Medical Center in West Haven, Conn., and colleagues conducted the research. Chaudhry’s team reviewed more than 1,000 related studies done between 1996 and 2004, focusing on 36 articles in particular.
Chaudhry and colleagues found “strong evidence” to support treating systolic high blood pressure in people aged 60 and older. Doing so can decrease the likelihood of developing heart disease or having a stroke.
High systolic blood pressure in people 60 and over is a much more important heart disease risk factor than high diastolic blood pressure, write the researchers.
What Questions Might I Be Asked In The Emergency Room
Your healthcare provider will interview you when you enter the emergency room. Do your best to prepare yourself to answer the following questions, and more, that your healthcare provider may ask.
- What medications are you on?
- Did you forget your blood pressure medication?
- What symptoms do you have?
- How long have you had these symptoms?
If youre unable to check your blood pressure, but think it might be high, dont hesitate to call 911 or go to the emergency room.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/14/2021.
Also Check: Does Claritin Lower Blood Pressure
If You Need Two Medications
Many types of blood pressure drugs work best when taken together. When taking two drugs together, diuretics have been shown to lower blood pressure with a beta-blocker, ACE inhibitor and an ARB. A calcium channel blocker lowers blood pressure with the same drugs that work well with a diuretic. Other drug combinations are necessary when taking three or more blood pressure medications. There may be other reasons why your doctor may prescribe two blood pressure medications. For example, after heart attacks, doctors will prescribe a beta-blocker and an ACE inhibitor, but this is not primarily to reduce blood pressure.
What Hypertension Stage Two Does To Your Body
Hypertension stage two wrecks havoc, and that damage isnt just confined to the cardiovascular system.
Systolic blood pressure is the amount of pressure the blood being pumped exerts against the artery walls with each heart beat. Diastolic pressure is the amount of pressure the blood being pumped exerts against artery walls between each heart beat.
The higher the blood pressure reading, the more pressure artery walls are having to endure. Hypertension is often called the silent killer because, while this excessive pressure is damaging, stiffening, and leaving arteries more prone to plaque buildup and increasing the risk of disease, the hypertensive person typically experiences few symptoms until the damage is already done.
Your vascular system is crucial to brain health. As hypertension stage two damages the cellular structure of the vascular system, the brain can be left without an adequate blood supply. This decreased nourishment leaves the brain vulnerable to disease and cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimers and dementia. It also increases the risk of stroke and TIAs.
Also Check: Claritin And High Blood Pressure Medications
What Causes High Blood Pressure In A Child
When the cause of high blood pressure isn’t known, it’s called primary. Secondary high blood pressure happens with illness or certain lifestyle choices.
Secondary causes of high blood pressure in children and teens include:
Kidney disease and heart disease
Prescription medicine such as corticosteroids or birth control pills
Illegal drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine
Endocrine disorders such as overactive thyroid and diabetes
Mental health causes such as mental stress and anxiety
What Should I Do If My Blood Pressure Is 160 Over 100
Your doctor If your blood pressure is higher than 160/100 mmHg, then three visits are enough. If your blood pressure is higher than 140/90 mmHg, then five visits are needed before a diagnosis can be made. If either your systolic or diastolic blood pressure stays high, then the diagnosis of hypertension can be made.
You May Like: Are Tomatoes Good For High Blood Pressure
Choosing A Blood Pressure Monitor
If you’re planning to take your blood pressure at home, it’s important to have a reliable blood pressure monitor. The AHA recommends an automatic, cuff-style, bicep monitor, but there are other options.
When selecting a blood pressure monitor, consider the following:
- Fit: To ensure a proper fit, measure around your upper arm and choose a monitor that comes with the correct size cuff.
- Number of people: If more than one person will be using the monitor, make sure to choose one that fits everyone.
- Features: Some blood pressure monitors offer extra tech features, like Bluetooth and app connectivity. If you don’t think you’ll benefit from these extras, go ahead and choose one that is efficient, easy to use, and more affordable.
- Budget: High-quality blood pressure monitors vary dramatically in price, from around $25 to well over $100. Keep in mind that a good monitor is a great investment and that you will be using it daily for several years.
- Other considerations: The AHA notes that when selecting a blood pressure monitor for a senior, pregnant person, or child, you should make sure it is validated for these conditions.
If you need help selecting an at-home device, check out these blood pressure monitors, which were vetted by the Verywell team based on the above criteria.
What To Do If Your Blood Pressure Reading Is 160/90
A blood pressure reading of 160/90 is cause for concern. The first step is to take another reading to confirm your blood pressure.
As an aside, home blood pressure monitors are amazingly affordable and great way to stay on top of your blood pressure. So invest in your health and check out .
You may want to calm down before getting another blood pressure reading. Lie down and rest for a few minutes.
This is a potentially life-threating issue and you should call 911 immediately.
Once you have been assessed by a medical professional there are a number of ways you can address a blood pressure reading of 160/90.
What Causes High Blood Pressure
For most people, the cause of high blood pressure is not known. However, it is clear that various conditions and behaviour make high blood pressure more likely. These are known as risk factors and include:
- leading a sedentary lifestyle
- high alcohol consumption
In a few people, there is an identifiable cause, such as narrowing of the arteries to the kidney or some hormonal conditions.
So You Have High Blood Pressure What Else Could Be Wrong
If you have high blood pressure, get checked for diabetes and high cholesterol. Most people who have high blood pressure also have some of the other risks for heart disease and stroke, such as not getting enough physical activity, having unhealthy eating habits, smoking, being overweight or drinking too much alcohol. Ask your doctor to test your kidney function through a blood and urine test, and through the electrolytes in your blood kidney problems can cause high blood pressure.
Read Also: Maxte Fitness And Activity Tracker Watch
Do You Have High Blood Pressure What The Guidelines Say
Your blood pressure is an important part of your overall health.
But what is it? Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels. If it is too high, it can put a strain on your heart and blood vessels, and can lead to increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Your blood pressure is measured using a device called a sphygmomanometer that cuff that goes around your arm. The measurement then indicates a unit of pressure known as millimeters of mercury . It shows how hard your heart is working to pump blood.
Your blood pressure is written as two numbers. The top number, known as the systolic pressure, measures the force of the blood against the artery walls when the heart contracts to pump blood out. It is working its hardest at that point.
The bottom number is the diastolic pressure, which shows the force of the blood when the heart is resting in between contractions. That number is lower.
Doctors use standard guidelines to determine if your blood pressure falls into a range known as normal. If it is too high and is consistently higher than the guidelines, it known as hypertension.