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.
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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
Why Do I Need To Take My Bp
You may not have any signs or symptoms of high BP. You may need to take your BP regularly to know how often your BP is high. High BP increases your risk for a stroke, heart attack, or kidney disease. You may need to take medicine to keep your BP at a normal level. Write down and keep a log of your BP. Your healthcare provider can use the BP results in your log to see if your BP medicines are working.
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Factors That Can Exaggerate Blood Pressure Readings
When you go to the doctors office, blood pressure measurement is one of the ways doctors can check up on your heart health. The only way to diagnose high blood pressure, known as hypertension, is by a blood pressure test. Blood pressure readings are typically taken at the start of your doctors appointment.
A healthy blood pressure reading is anywhere between 90/60 and 120/80. To understand your blood pressure reading, you need to know the difference between diastolic and systolic blood pressure. The first number is the systolic blood pressure which measures how much pressure your blood is exerting against the artery walls when your heart is beating. The second number is the diastolic blood pressure which indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
Anything 140/90 or above is considered a high blood pressure reading, which could be a diagnosis of hypertension. Hypertension is one of the leading causes of heart disease that can lead to heart attacks, kidney failure, stroke, and even dementia. If your blood pressure measures below 90/60, that could be an indicator of hypotension, or low blood pressure, which can result in dizziness, fainting, and long-term damage to the heart and brain.
When Treatment Is Recommended
Everyone with high blood pressure is advised to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Whether medicine is also recommended depends on your blood pressure reading and your risk of developing problems such as heart attacks or strokes.
Your doctor will carry out some blood and urine tests, and ask questions about your health to determine your risk of other problems:
- if your blood pressure is consistently above 140/90mmHg , but your risk of other problems is low you’ll be advised to make some changes to your lifestyle
- if your blood pressure is consistently above 140/90mmHg and your risk of other problems is high you’ll be offered medicine to lower your blood pressure, in addition to lifestyle changes
- if your blood pressure is consistently above 160/100mmHg you’ll be offered medicine to lower your blood pressure, in addition to lifestyle changes
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Advantages Of Medicating At Night
Quite a few studies have found blood pressure drugs may work best when taken at night or, for people who work night shifts, before bedtime.
The biggest and most significant of these is the Hygia Chronotherapy Trial. It is a six-year study of more than 19,000 people with high blood pressure.
The researchers divided the participants into two groups. One group took their blood pressure medication in the morning. The other took their drugs at night. At least once a year, all of the people used ABPM to record their blood pressures.
The researchers found that when compared to the morning group, those who took their blood pressure drugs at night had a lower risk of getting a number of conditions. For example, the results suggested:
- The risk of stroke was lower by 49%.
- The risk of heart attack was lower by 44%.
- The risk of heart failure was lower by 42%.
A 2015 study in the journal Diabetologia found that taking these drugs at night reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes in people with high blood pressure. The potential benefits led the American Diabetes Association to state in their Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes that healthcare providers should tell people to take blood pressure drugs at night.
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With Stricter Guidelines Do You Have High Blood Pressure Now
That is topical right now because Whelton is among a group of physicians who have just recommended new standards for blood pressure. Now, if your blood pressure tops 130 over 80, you are in unhealthy territory. Having an accurate measure is important because more people than ever may be keeping a close eye on their blood pressure and trying to keep it in a healthy range through diet, exercise and potentially medications.
The new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, released Tuesday, which lowered the threshold for diagnosing high blood pressure from 140/90, mean that nearly half of the U.S. population will be considered as having high blood pressure, with the greatest impact on younger people.
So Whelton and his committee members rolled out a checklist for medical professionals to follow when they’re taking your blood pressure. Here are the do’s and don’ts from a patient’s perspective, aimed at making it less likely that you’ll get a reading that is falsely high, or low:
If your blood pressure appears high, your doctor’s office should take a reading in both arms. And next time you come in, the reading should be from the arm that showed the higher blood pressure.
Where Can I Get My Blood Pressure Checked
You can get your blood pressure measured
- By a health care team member at a doctors office.
- At a pharmacy that has a digital blood pressure measurement machine.
- With a home blood pressure monitor that you can use yourself.
Take this form pdf icon with you on your first blood pressure visit to record important blood pressure-related information.
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When To Contact A Medical Professional
If low blood pressure causes a person to pass out , seek treatment right away. Or call 911 or the local emergency number. If the person is not breathing or has no pulse, begin CPR.
- Black or maroon stools
Hypotension Blood pressure – low Postprandial hypotension Orthostatic hypotension Neurally mediated hypotension NMH
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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.
Best Time To Take Blood Pressure
Taking blood pressure is important part of routine medical checkups because the high blood pressure can be an indication of the health problems of the future, like heart attack , stroke, kidney disease, dementia, etc. So, checking blood pressure is important, especially when you have been asked to do so by your physician. So, how to check your BP at home? And what’s the best time to take blood pressure? These questions and other queries related to blood pressure will be answered in this article.
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Factors That Can Affect Your Readings
There are a few general rules to be aware of when it comes to timing your blood pressure reading.
For example, its not a good idea to take your blood pressure immediately after you wake up, as this will give your lowest reading. Instead, aim to check it when youve been up for about half an hour.
Its also best not to wait until after breakfast and your morning coffee since both food and caffeine can raise your blood pressure. Ideally, a morning blood pressure can be taken after you brush your teeth, shower, and get dressed but before you eat or leave for work.
Food and caffeine arent the only things that can cause your blood pressure to spike. There are several other everyday things that can make your blood pressure rise.
No matter what time of day you take your blood pressure, its best to avoid these things for at least half an hour before you take a reading:
- smoking or using tobacco
What Else Do I Need To Know
- Do not take a BP reading in an arm that is injured or has an IV or shunt.
- Take your BP medicines as directed. Do not stop taking your medicines if your BP is at your goal. A BP at your goal means your medicine is working correctly.
- Bring the BP machine to your follow-up visit. Your healthcare provider can check that you are using it correctly.
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The Best Time To Your Blood Pressure
Take your blood pressure once in the morning and once in the evening. Then do two readings, at least a minute apart from each other, says Dr. Distel. If your reading seems too high or too low, wait a few minutes and then try again.
Try getting in a routine, too, so you can notice any patterns or shifts in your results.
And youll want to record your readings in a journal or notebook. Write down the date, time of day, systolic and diastolic numbers, heart rate and which arm you took the reading on. This will help you notice changes.
Dr. Distel says you can also talk to your doctor about 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. This device allows your blood pressure to be measured over a 24-hour period, even while you sleep.
It takes your blood pressure every three to five minutes, says Dr. Distel. If someone didnt want to have to constantly check their own blood pressure it could be an option.
What Is The Correct Way To Measure Blood Pressure
Learn the correct way to have your blood pressure taken, whether youre getting it checked at the doctors office or checking it yourself at home. Use this checklist:
- Dont eat or drink anything 30 minutes before you take your blood pressure.
- Empty your bladder before your reading.
- Sit in a comfortable chair with your back supported for at least 5 minutes before your reading.
- Put both feet flat on the ground and keep your legs uncrossed.
- Rest your arm with the cuff on a table at chest height.
- Make sure the blood pressure cuff is snug but not too tight. The cuff should be against your bare skin, not over clothing.
- Do not talk while your blood pressure is being measured.
If you are keeping track of your blood pressure at home, use these additional tips.
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