Why Is Blood Pressure Screening Important
As weve already mentioned, high blood pressure is a common condition for people all over America. This can have serious implications for your health if left untreated.
Your blood pressure measures how hard your blood pushes its way through the body. Specifically, it looks at how hard the blood pushes against your artery walls as it travels.
If your blood pressure is normal then this wont put any strain on your arteries. However, high blood pressure can put a lot of strain on your body and this can be very dangerous. High blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, can lead to any of the following:
- heart disease
- vascular dementia
- aortic aneurysms
Having low blood pressure can also have an effect on your health although this is often less dangerous than high blood pressure. Having low blood pressure can make you feel dizzy or even lead to fainting. This can be dangerous as fainting could lead to more serious injuries, such as head injuries.
Fortunately, its possible to treat high or low blood pressure easily if you catch them early. You can do this in a number of ways, such as using medication or by changing your diet!
But if you dont know about your condition theres very little you can do about it. Thats why getting a regular blood pressure check can make all the difference to your long-term health.
Having A Blood Pressure Test
A stethoscope, arm cuff, pump and dial was normally used to measure your blood pressure, but automatic devices with sensors and digital displays are commonly used nowadays.
It’s best to sit down with your back supported and legs uncrossed for at least 5 minutes before the test.
You’ll usually need to roll up your sleeves or remove any long-sleeved clothing so the cuff can be placed around your upper arm.
Try to relax and avoid talking while the test is carried out.
During the test:
- you hold out one of your arms so it’s at the same level as your heart, and the cuff is placed around it your arm should be supported in this position with a cushion or the arm of a chair, for example
- the cuff is pumped up to restrict the blood flow in your arm this squeezing may feel a bit uncomfortable, but only lasts a few seconds
- the pressure in the cuff is slowly released and detectors sense vibrations in your arteries a doctor will use a stethoscope to detect these if your blood pressure is measured manually
- the pressure in the cuff is recorded at 2 points as the blood flow starts to return to your arm these measurements are used to give your blood pressure reading
You can usually find out your result straight away, either from the healthcare professional carrying out the test or on the digital display.
Lose Any Extra Weight
High weight and high blood pressure go together hand-in-hand and losing even a small amount of weight can help you lower your pressure. Keep an eye not only on the numbers on the scale but your waist measurement since as a general rule:
- Men are at risk for blood pressure problems once their waist measurement exceeds 40 inches.
- For women, that not so magic number is 35 inches.
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Measuring Blood Pressure In Evening
- Try to measure it at the same time every evening.
- Don’t eat or drink for 30 minutes before taking measurement.
Record your blood pressure readings on regular basis and take the following precautions.
- Use same arm everyday for measuring blood pressure.
- While measuring your BP you should sit quietly and don’t think about anything that makes you aggressive.
- During measurement your arm should be placed at heart level. If you are sitting then place your hand on a table of appropriate height. You may use a pillow under your hand to properly adjust the height.
- While putting the cuff on your arm, make sure that it is not wrapped above any cloth. Cuff should be wrapped on bare skin.
Note: Never make any changes in your mediation if you find your blood pressure readings normal at home. You should consult your doctor before making any changes in medication. However you may show your blood pressure records to the doctor, which may help him/her in understanding your heart health better.
What Is The Best Time To Check Your Blood Pressure
Purchasing a blood pressure monitoring device is a great first step in taking control of your health. However, knowing when the best time is to collect this data and how to interpret it is key to understanding and effectively managing high blood pressure conditions.
Blood pressure readings can fluctuate throughout the day, which makes it important to check readings several times and at different points. Checking your BP monitor about five to six times will help you obtain a good idea of where your blood pressure lies. Establishing a routine of checking your monitor will help this effort.
The following is an example of the information your doctor needs to better assess your blood pressure:
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How Blood Pressure Is Tested
Blood pressure machines vary, but they’re all a type of measuring device, which often have an arm cuff attached to it.
The cuff is usually wrapped around your upper arm and filled with air until it feels tight. This can feel uncomfortable but it only lasts a few seconds.
It’s important to relax and not talk during this time, because this is when your blood pressure is measured.
If a healthcare professional is doing this for you, they may also use a stethoscope to record your blood pressure.
An automatic device usually picks up the measurements from sensors in the arm cuff, which are sent to a digital display.
You should get the results straight away.
What Steps Should I Take While Checking My Blood Pressure At Home
Before taking your blood pressure
- Find a quiet place.
- Check to be sure you have the correct size cuff. If you are not sure, or if you have questions, talk to your healthcare provider.
- Roll up the sleeve on your left arm or remove any tight-sleeved clothing, if needed.
- Rest in a chair next to a table for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Sit up straight with your back against the chair, legs uncrossed and on the ground.
- Rest your forearm on the table with the palm of your hand facing up.
- You should not talk, read the newspaper, or watch television during this process.
Taking your blood pressure
If you buy a manual or digital blood pressure monitor , follow the instruction booklet carefully.
Record your blood pressure
If you have been asked to record your blood pressure and bring your readings to the office, please write down the date, time of day, systolic and diastolic numbers, heart rate, and which arm you took the reading on. If you are taking part in a program that has remote monitoring, your blood pressure readings are automatically shared with your medical provider. If you are unsure, please ask your provider.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/23/2018.
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What Your Readings Mean
The top number refers to your systolic pressure, which is the force of the blood against the artery walls as your heart beats. The bottom number is your diastolic pressure, the blood pressure between heartbeats.
If the top number is 130 or more or if the bottom number is 80 or more, you should talk to your doctor, who can determine what lifestyle changes you need to make and if you need to take any medication.
Over time, high blood pressure can lead to complications, says Dr. Distel. It can lead to chronic kidney disease, strokes, heart disease and eye problems.
But with some simple changes like increasing exercise, eating a well-balanced diet, quitting smoking and reducing salt and alcohol, you may be able to lower your blood pressure.
The biggest thing is lifestyle changes, says Dr. Distel. Try to lower your sodium or salt intake in your diet and increase your aerobic activity.
How Are Blood Pressure Levels Categorized
There are four blood pressure categories:
- Normal blood pressure: Systolic below 120 and diastolic below 80 mm Hg
- Prehypertension: Systolic between 120-139 and diastolic between 80-89 mm Hg
- Stage I hypertension: Systolic between 140-159 and diastolic between 90-99 mm Hg
- Stage II hypertension: Systolic above 160 and diastolic above 100 mm Hg
Monitoring your blood pressure levels can help you prevent or delay the onset of high blood pressure and related health problems. If you notice that your blood pressure readings are getting higher, talk to your doctor. They can help you set goals and recommend lifestyle changes that can help you get the numbers back down and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
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Donerton Smart Watch Fitness Tracker
Pick from three great colors with the Donerton Smart Watch. Theres pink, black, and grey to suit all wardrobes. This simple and stylish multi-function device is a great way to stay on top of your health and fitness goals. The activity tracker measures steps, calories, and distance with the options of eight sports modes as well as a sedentary reminder for when its time to get up and move. Then, theres also a heart rate monitor and sleep assessment for even deeper insights. Enjoy convenient connectivity, with notifications for calls, texts, and app messages, as well as music and camera controller, alarm clock, and find your phone functions.
Tips For Taking Your Blood Pressure At Home
Its not uncommon for patients to have normal blood pressure readings at home but high blood pressure readings at their doctor appointments. This can be very frustrating for hypertensive patients, especially those who are diligent about keeping their high blood pressure under control.
Patients often are nervous about what their blood pressure will be when its measured at their doctors office, and that anxiety causes their blood pressure to go up. Its known as white coat hypertension, and its particularly common among elderly patients.
For that reason, I encourage my patients who take hypertension medication to monitor their blood pressure numbers at home.
What Do The Results Mean
The results from your screening are presented using two numbers, which appear as one over the other. These measure two types of pressure:
If your blood pressure is 140/90 or more then you have high blood pressure. Normal blood pressure sits around 120/80 or lower. 90/60 is too low a blood pressure.
Some peoples blood pressure sits between normal and high. This is also known as elevated blood pressure or prehypertension. For example, having a blood pressure of 130/85 means you have prehypertension.
How To Measure Your Blood Pressure At Home Using A Home Monitor
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Home Blood Pressure Testing
Blood pressure tests can also be carried out at home using your own blood pressure monitor.
Like 24-hour or ambulatory monitoring, this can give a better reflection of your blood pressure.
It can also allow you to monitor your condition more easily in the long term.
You can buy a variety of low-cost monitors so you can test your blood pressure at home or while you’re out and about.
Measure your blood pressure twice a day, ideally in the morning and the evening, while you’re sitting down.
Each time take 2 readings, 1 minute apart. Continue to measure your blood pressure twice a day for 7 days.
Your doctor or nurse will use this information to work out your average blood pressure.
It’s important to make sure you use equipment that’s been properly tested.
The British Hypertension Society has information about validated blood pressure monitors that are available to buy.
What Is A Healthy Blood Pressure Reading
Your blood pressure measures the force of the blood being pushed through your body as your heart beats.
The first number is called your systolic pressure. It measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart pumps. The second number is called your diastolic pressure, which measures the pressure in your blood vessels in between heartbeats.
A single blood pressure reading in the higher range isnt cause for concern, but if youre regularly getting higher readings, a medical professional will make a plan to help you lower your numbers.
Elevated blood pressure categories include:
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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
Lintelek Smart Watch And Fitness Tracker
With the Lintelek Smart Watch and Fitness Tracker, you can check your heart rate and blood pressure data without connecting to an app. It also works well as a fitness watch with seven sport modes, a stopwatch, and a reset function. Compared to other fitness trackers, it also has a great battery life of 10 days active mode and 20 days in standby, taking just two hours to charge via USB fully.
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Understanding Your Blood Pressure Reading
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury and is given as 2 numbers:
- systolic pressure the pressure when your heart pushes blood out
- diastolic pressure the pressure when your heart rests between beats
The highest number is always the systolic pressure and it’s always given first. For example, a blood pressure given as “120 over 80” or 120/80mmHg means a systolic pressure of 120mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 80mmHg.
As a general guide:
- normal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
- high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher
- low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower
If your reading is between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg, you may be at risk of developing high blood pressure. There are things you can do to help prevent high blood pressure.
Omron Heartguide Smart Watch Blood Pressure Monitor
Get accurate blood pressure results in just 30 seconds with the OMRON HeartGuide Smart Watch. Connect to the app and use colored charts to track your personal data and trends over time and monitor any changes. If your blood pressure isnt the best, you can set activity goals to gradually increase your fitness. Plus, it also monitors sleep patterns, giving insights into how your rest patterns affect heart health. Best of all, it still has regular smartwatch functions, including reminders, notifications, and, of course, the time.
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Monitoring Your Blood Pressure
Taking your blood pressure at home is key, says Luke. If youre monitoring regularly, its not something you want to do every day, but you want to make it part of your routine a couple times a week. Taking it at various times throughout the day is also more accurate than the readings you receive at your doctors office, surprisingly, she says.
When patients are worried about having an appointment, finding parking and getting to their doctors office on time, these stress factors actually affect their blood pressure and whats taken at the time of their appointment may not be accurate.
Luke advises scheduling your readings around the time of your medications, or when you have breakfast, lunch or dinner. Try setting an alarm for when youre relaxing and watching television at night.
Halfsun Fitness Tracker And Activity Monitor
Alongside standard smartwatch functions like Bluetooth phone connection, GPS, remote camera and alarms, and day-to-day activities, the HalfSun tracker also monitors your heart rate and blood pressure continuously. It also records your all-day activities, including your steps, active minutes, and sleep. Even better, it has a cycle tracker for women that can be switched on and off as needed.
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High Blood Pressure And Daily Activity
Check with your doctor before starting a new activity or increasing your level or intensity. Be active safely. Build up your levels of activity gradually.
Try to do at least 30 to 45 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. This can be done in bouts of 10 minutes or longer, if that is more convenient.
Physical activity is any form of bodily movement performed by our large muscle groups. Moderate-intensity physical activity , such as brisk walking or cycling, is enough to provide health benefits.
Walking is a great activity for all ages. You may like to join one of the Heart Foundations community walking groups.
Some types of exercises, such as body presses and lifting heavy weights, can raise your blood pressure. Avoid these if you have high blood pressure.