Avoid Common Errors While Taking Multiple Readings In A Row
Avoid these common errors 5 while resting in between measurements:
- Checking the latest stock market prices.
- Reading or watching the news.
- Getting out of your chair to do a task quickly.
- Changing your body position like crossing your legs or slouching.
- Taking a quick drink or snacking on some food close by.
- Anything other than sitting quietly and remaining relaxed.
In addition to those activities to avoid, prior to starting the first reading make sure to do the following 6:
- Dont exercise within 30 minutes.
- Dont eat or drink within 30 minutes.
- Avoid all caffeine 30 minutes prior to measuring.
- Dont smoke 30 minutes prior.
- Empty your bladder prior to measuring your blood pressure or make sure youre not experiencing the urge to use the bathroom.
- Wear comfortable clothes including short sleeve shirts.
- Sit in an upright chair with your back resting against the chair.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor and dont cross your legs.
- Wrap the cuff around your bare skin and not over clothing, including thin material.
- Maintain your arm in the correct position and the cuff at heart level.
If theres any doubt about how to position your arm 7 or to achieve heart level, please refer to my blog post and refresh yourself on these two crucial details, Effect of Arm Position on Blood Pressure.
Blood Pressure Lying Down Vs Standing
Without blood pressure, our body would not receive the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function properly. The heart has two motions contracting and relaxing, so blood pressure is, therefore, recorded as two numbers over each other. Systolic is the actual beat of the heart and diastolic is when the heart relaxes. Systolic pressure is listed over diastolic, such as 120 over 80, which is normal blood pressure.
All sorts of conditions can have an impact on your blood pressure reading. Disease, stress, weight, and even posture can impact your blood pressure level. Blood pressure lying down verses standing has the same variations as lying down vs. sitting. Moving from a standing to a supine position could result in different readings.
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.
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How Is Blood Pressure Measured
Blood pressure is measured using a machine called a blood pressure monitor.
A cuff is put over your arm. This cuff is attached to a machine which measures the pressure inside your arteries. When the machine is switched on the cuff tightens and then slowly loosens again. It is quick and painless. At the end, the machine will give a blood pressure reading.
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury .
A blood pressure reading contains two numbers and will be written as a figure like 120/75
The first number is the pressure when your heart beats . The second number is when your heart relaxes .
During a blood pressure test, a blood pressure cuff is wrapped around your arm so a blood pressure monitor can measure your systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
What Causes High Blood Pressure
According to Dr. Singh, hypertension is broken down into two types: primary and secondary. Primary hypertension, also called essential hypertension, has no identifiable cause and is the most common form of high blood pressure. Disposition towards primary hypertension is mostly attributed to:
- General aging
- Poor diet
Genetic factors, as well as lifestyle choices to diet and exercise, may contribute to the development of primary hypertension, Dr. Singh says.
Secondary hypertension, on the other hand, occurs when the elevation in pressure has a readily identifiable underlying condition,” explains Dr. Singh. Those causes can include:
- Poor diet
- An underlying condition such as:
- Kidney disease
Key Terms About Blood Pressure And Hypertension:
- Systolic blood pressure : the top number when BP is checked. This reflects the pressure in the arteries when the heart squeezes. Its by far the most important number to consider when it comes to older adults.
- Diastolic blood pressure : the lower number when BP is checked. This reflects the pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes.
- Pulse: the heart rate. Automatic BP monitors report pulse along with BP. Doctors must evaluate a persons heart rate when considering a change in BP medication.
- Hypertension: Usually defined as BP> 140/90, assuming the readings are taken in a doctors office. If only the systolic BP is high, this is called isolated systolic hypertension. This type of hypertension is very common in older adults, as aging is associated with both increases in systolic BP and decreases in diastolic BP.
Okay What Is Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Your arteries, in case you’re not familiar with them, are tiny tubes in your body that carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body.
When you have your blood pressure taken, you’ll see two numbers. The first one is your systolic blood pressure, and this number indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls as your heart beats. The second number is the diastolic blood pressure, and it tells you how much pressure your blood is exerting when your heart is resting in between beats. The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association define hypertension as blood pressure at or above 130/80 mmHg. Ideally, you want your blood pressure to be less than 120/80 mmHg, which is what the organizations consider “normal.”
Your blood pressure naturally goes up and down during the day but, if it stays high for more extended periods, it raises the risk of heart damage. In fact, American Heart Association says high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease, and nearly 75 percent of all heart disease cases involve high blood pressure levels.
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Whos At Risk For Labile Hypertension
Labile hypertension tends to be situational. This means the spikes occur in response to stressful events a fender bender, intensive physical exertion or thinking about financial woes, for example. This helps distinguish labile hypertension from true hypertension, in which blood pressure is high all the time.
Although hypertension can develop at any time, it raises a red flag when it occurs in young people or after age 60.
People who develop hypertension in their 40s particularly if they have a family history of hypertension are more likely to have essential hypertension than labile hypertension. They tend to be overweight or have underlying dietary issues, such as excessive sodium intake or heavy alcohol consumption.
When Is Blood Pressure Highest
Blood pressure rises and falls in a fairly predictable pattern. When you wake up in the morning, it surges. It then increases throughout the day. At night, during sleep, it tends to drop again.
However, this isn’t always the case for people with high blood pressure. In fact, there are four distinct patterns of nighttime blood pressure shifts. They are:
- A normal drop in blood pressure of 10% to 20%
- Extreme dipping, which is a drop of more than 20%
- Nondipping, which is a drop of less than 10%
- Reverse dipping, in which blood pressure is higher during sleep than during waking hours
All three types of abnormal dips in blood pressure are associated with various health risks. They can affect the arteries and heart, kidneys, blood sugar levels, and more.
The only way to know how your blood pressure changes is to measure it regularly at different times across the day and night. One way to do this is with ambulatory blood pressure monitoring .
This technique involves wearing a blood pressure cuff like the one your healthcare provider uses in their office. You use it for a specified period of time, usually 24 or 48 hours. The cuff is linked to a small monitor that can be attached to a belt or an item of clothing. The device automatically takes your blood pressure every 15 or 30 minutes.
ABPM measures blood pressure during sleep as well as during waking hours. For this reason, it can be a useful way to find out what kind of dip, if any, someone tends to have at night.
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Blood Pressure Medications Can Help
Blood pressure medications can help lower your risk for a heart attack or stroke if you have hypertension. In studies on hypertensive patients, reducing systolic blood pressure by only 12-13 mmHg lowered the risk for stroke by about 40%, and the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke by about 25%.
How Long Should You Wait Between Blood Pressure Readings In A Row
When taking multiple blood pressure readings in a row, there should be one minute between each reading. The one-minute rest prevents prolonged compression of the blood pressure cuff on your blood vessels and skin. In addition, it allows your body to relax again while waiting for the next measurement.
Im sure youve heard how you should have five minutes of quiet time before measuring your blood pressure 3. Its important to note, during the minute breaks between readings, you should be practicing the same quiet time.
During the one minute, dont perform other activities to help pass the time. I know it can be time consuming to sit in a chair quietly for about 10 minutes in total time. That includes the five minutes before measuring, the time it takes the monitor to measure and the one minute rests in between. Remaining calm and quiet for the whole time is important for the process.
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High Blood Pressure And Older Adults
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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major health problem that is common in older adults. Your bodys network of blood vessels, known as the vascular system, changes with age. Arteries get stiffer, causing blood pressure to go up. This can be true even for people who have heart-healthy habits and feel just fine. High blood pressure, sometimes called “the silent killer,” often does not cause signs of illness that you can see or feel. Though it affects nearly half of all adults, many may not even be aware they have it.
If high blood pressure isn’t controlled with lifestyle changes and medication, it can lead to serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease such as heart disease and stroke, vascular dementia, eye problems, and kidney disease. The good news is that blood pressure can be controlled in most people.
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.
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If You Get A High Blood Pressure Reading
- A single high reading is not an immediate cause for alarm. If you get a reading that is slightly or moderately higher than normal, take your blood pressure a few more times and consult your healthcare professional to verify if there s a health concern or whether there may be any issues with your monitor.
- If your blood pressure readings suddenly exceed 180/120 mm Hg, wait five minutes and test again. If your readings are still unusually high, contact your doctor immediately. You could be experiencing a hypertensive crisis.
- If your blood pressure is higher than 180/120 mm Hg and you are experiencing signs of possible organ damage such as chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness/weakness, change in vision, difficulty speaking, do not wait to see if your pressure comes down on its own. Call 911.
How Do I Take My Blood Pressure
Before taking your blood pressure:
- Find a quiet place.
- 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 five to 10 minutes.
- Sit up straight with your back against the chair, legs uncrossed.
- Rest your forearm on the table with the palm of your hand facing up.
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Make A List Of All Of Your High Blood Pressure Medications
Your doctor has many high blood pressure medications to choose from. They work in different ways to lower your blood pressure. Each type of drug has its own possible side effects, so it’s a good idea to know exactly which high blood pressure medicines you take. Ask your doctor or pharmacist these questions:
- What are the names of my high blood pressure drugs? Ask for both the brand name and the generic name.
- How does this medication help lower my blood pressure?
- What is the dose?
- How often do I take the medication?
Make a list of your high blood pressure drugs, and make a few copies of the list. Take the list with you whenever you visit a health care professional. Give copies to any family members or friends who help with your health care.
How Blood Pressure Medication Works
There are 11 types of blood pressure medication. Each works in different ways, but the overall goal of hypertension drugs is to make it easier for blood to flow and for the heart to beat.
- Diureticsflush excess fluid and sodium out of the body.
- Beta-blockersmake the heart beat more slowly. They reduce how hard it has to work and the amount of blood it has to put out.
- ACE inhibitorshelp to reduce the amount of a hormone called angiotensin. This hormone causes arteries to narrow.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers block the receptors for angiotensin to prevent it from narrowing arteries.
- Calcium channel blockersrelax and dilate blood vessels. They also lower heart rate.
- Alpha-blockershelp to relax the walls of blood vessels.
- Alpha-2 receptor agonists lower the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. This is a part of the nervous system that controls heart rate and other involuntary body functions.
- Combined alpha- and beta-blockers are mostly used to treat people having a hypertensive crisis. They are sometimes prescribed for those at high risk of heart failure.
- Central agonists make it harder for blood vessels to contract.
- Peripheral adrenergic inhibitors block chemicals in the brain that play a role in causing blood vessels to become narrow.
- Vasodilators relax the walls of blood vessels. This helps them to widen and allows blood to flow more easily.
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How Can I Control My Blood Pressure
You can often lower your blood pressure by changing your day-to-day habits and by taking medication if needed. Treatment, especially if you have other medical conditions such as diabetes, requires ongoing evaluation and discussions with your doctor.
Lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent and lower high blood pressure:
In addition to recommending lifestyle changes, your doctor will likely prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure to a safe level. Isolated systolic hypertension, the most common form of high blood pressure in older adults, is treated in the same way as regular high blood pressure but may require more than one type of blood pressure medication. You may try several kinds or combinations of medications before finding a plan that works best for you. Medication can control your blood pressure, but it can’t cure it. If your doctor starts you on medication for high blood pressure, you may need to take it long-term.