Checking Blood Pressure Too Often
When youve become diagnosed with high blood pressure, its typical to want to check your pressure at different times during the day. As with any other interest, your thoughts on the topic can pop into your head all day long. I know what its like to wonder if the activity I just performed or food I ate increased or lowered my blood pressure. These thoughts are normal and sometimes it leads you to want to wrap that cuff around your arm, press the start button and check your pressure.
Can you check your blood pressure too often? Yes, its unnecessary to check your blood pressure all day long. Your physician will advise you how often to check your blood pressure and at what time. It will depend on your treatment and condition. Typically, most medical experts suggest checking your pressure no more than 2 times a day.
If youre monitoring your pressure at home, give yourself a pat on the back. More and more, medical experts are recommending people to take blood pressure measurements at home. Home monitoring can help you partner with your physician and improve your blood pressure goals . If you dont and youre thinking about purchasing your own monitor, you can check my blog post on the one I recommend.
How Can I Lower My Blood Pressure In Minutes
If your blood pressure is elevated and you want to see an immediate change, lie down and take deep breaths. This is how you lower your blood pressure within minutes, helping to slow your heart rate and decrease your blood pressure. When you feel stress, hormones are released that constrict your blood vessels.
At Your Healthcare Provider’s Office
Some people have their blood pressure checked by a healthcare provider on a regular basis. There’s a good chance that these appointments are scheduled at different times of the day.
There’s also a good reason for that. A healthcare provider will do this on purpose to get a range of readings. These multiple readings are then averaged together into one overall result. It is used to give a diagnosis, according to standard guidelines on blood pressure.
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At Home With A Monitor
Home monitoring can be a great way to keep track of your blood pressure on a daily basis.
With home monitoring, you can check your blood pressure throughout the day and at times that are convenient for you. It can help you see how your blood pressure changes throughout the day and help you get a sense of your average blood pressure range.
However, youll need to purchase a blood pressure monitor to do this. Youll also need to learn how to use it and how to record accurate readings.
Its not complicated to learn the basics of many home monitors, but it can still be easy to make a mistake.
Models With Special Features
Some automatic blood pressure monitors have special features that may be beneficial for you.
- Some models include a heart rate monitor and some may even be able to detect an irregular heartbeat.
- For those who have difficulty reading the screen, there are talking monitors available.
- Some automatic monitors have built-in memory that can store one or more of your previous readings.
- There are even options that use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity to send your blood pressure readings to your smartphone, tablet or computer for easy review and sharing.
Whatever model you choose, be sure that it comes with the correct size cuff. A cuff that doesn’t fit properly on your arm may give you inaccurate readings. The cuff size you need is based on the size of your arm. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you find a blood pressure monitor with the proper cuff size.
Once you have a home blood pressure monitor, bring it with you to your next checkup so your doctor can make sure you’re using it correctly and it’s working well. Check your blood pressure at home as often as directed by your doctor.
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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.
Are You Taking Your Pressure Too Often Due To Fluctuations
Your pressure can change throughout the day. Sometimes from minute to minute or hour to hour. Slight variations are normal but shouldnt be a concern . Because of these fluctuations, you may take your blood pressure too often. The extra measurements arent necessary.
A common cause of getting different 2 different readings, even minutes apart can be because you didnt prepare properly for the first reading. Something like being as unrelaxed as you should have been for the first reading is very common. By the time you take the 2nd measurement, your body has had a few more minutes to calm down and relax resultingly in a lower number.
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Tips To Measure Your Blood Pressure Correctly
To determine whether you have hypertension, a medical professional will take a blood pressure reading. How you prepare for the test, the position of your arm, and other factors can change a blood pressure reading by 10% or more. That could be enough to hide high blood pressure, start you on a drug you don’t really need, or lead your doctor to incorrectly adjust your medications.
National and international guidelines offer specific instructions for measuring blood pressure. If a doctor, nurse, or medical assistant isn’t doing it right, don’t hesitate to ask him or her to get with the guidelines.
Here’s what you can do to ensure a correct reading:
Don’t drink a caffeinated beverage or smoke during the 30 minutes before the test.
Sit quietly for five minutes before the test begins.
During the measurement, sit in a chair with your feet on the floor and your arm supported so your elbow is at about heart level.
The inflatable part of the cuff should completely cover at least 80% of your upper arm, and the cuff should be placed on bare skin, not over a shirt.
Don’t talk during the measurement.
Have your blood pressure measured twice, with a brief break in between. If the readings are different by 5 points or more, have it done a third time.
For more on getting your blood pressure under control, buy Controlling Your Blood Pressure, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
Importance Of Home Monitoring
High blood pressure can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and other conditions, making it important that you take steps to get levels under control. Your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes and prescribe medication to address hypertension. In order to check how well your treatment plan is working, it is often necessary to check your blood pressure levels at home. By recording the numbers and sharing them with your doctor, they can determine whether changes need to be made in your medication or if additional lifestyle modifications are necessary to lower your blood pressure.
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What If I Dont Have Equipment
You dont need a blood pressure cuff to take your resting heart rate, which is another measurement that helps indicate heart health. Digital monitors usually display both blood pressure and heart rate, but you can determine the latter on your own by checking your pulse by hand. Your pulse is how many times your heart pumps per minute.
First, locate the artery below the thumb on the inside of your wrist and place two fingers there. Count how many times you feel your heartbeat over a 15-second period, and then multiply your count by four to get your resting heart rate.
When youre checking pulse by hand, youre looking for more than just a number. Youre also checking for a regular rhythm, which indicates a strong pulse.
Before You Measure Your Blood Pressure
- Avoid things that can raise your blood pressure in the short term. Dont measure your blood pressure within half an hour of eating, smoking, drinking caffeinated drinks such as coffee, or exercising. These can all raise your blood pressure temporarily. If you need to use the toilet, go before you measure your blood pressure.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes. Wear a short-sleeved t-shirt or something with sleeves you can push up easily, nothing tight. This is so that you can fit the cuff around your arm.
- Rest for five minutes before you take your reading. Sit down somewhere quiet, ideally at a desk or table. Have your back supported with your arm resting on a firm surface and your feet flat on the floor. Stay in this position while you take your blood pressure.
- Make sure your arm is supported and at the same level as your heart. Position yourself so that your arm is resting on a surface and is at the same height as your heart. Keep your arm and hand relaxed, not tensed.
- Make sure you are relaxed and comfortable. If you are anxious or uncomfortable, your blood pressure will rise temporarily.
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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.
Are There Differences Between Taking A Blood Pressure Reading On The Right Arm Vs Left Arm
Blood pressure measurement values vary from the left arm to the right arm. The average is generally within 10 mmHg for most individuals. Omron home blood pressure monitors are generally designed for use on the left arm as they are validated through clinical studies using the left arm. You should talk to your doctor before using the right arm to take a measurement.
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Do I Need To Use A Blood Pressure Checker
You may not need a blood pressure checker for every reading, but it will help manage blood pressure health. As you become familiar with your readings, using a blood pressure checker will advise how to improve and maintain healthy blood pressure.
The blood pressure calculator can be accessed via desktop, tablet or mobile.
If you have questions about taking blood pressure or using the blood pressure checker, contact us. If you are concerned about your reading after using this blood pressure calculator or any other blood pressure checker, seek medical advice.
Stethoscope Usage And Korotkoff Sounds
The stethoscope is used on bare skin so that a clients clothing does not affect the sounds. The stethoscope does not make sounds louder it simply blocks out extraneous noises so you can better hear the Korotkoff sounds. These sounds are heard through a stethoscope applied over the brachial artery when the blood pressure cuff is deflating. You will not hear anything when you first place the stethoscope over the brachial artery because unobstructed blood flow is silent. The Korotkoff sounds appear after you inflate the cuff and then begin to deflate the cuff. The Korotkoff sounds are the result of the turbulent blood caused by the inflated cuff compressing the artery and oscillations of the arterial wall when the heart beats during cuff deflation.
Here are a few tips:
- Use a high quality stethoscope with durable, thick tubing. Avoid stethoscopes with long tubing because this can distort sounds.
- Ensure quiet surroundings so that you can better hear the Korotkoff sounds.
- Make sure that the slope of the stethoscope earpieces point forward or toward your nose.
- Use a stethoscope that has both bell and diaphragm capacity. See Figure 5.4 for bell and diaphragm.
Film clip 5.2: Opening and closing the bell and diaphragm
Alternatively, if viewing textbook as a PDF, use this link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/rp_4h-tCmvs?rel=0
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Choosing A Home Blood Pressure Monitor
The American Heart Association recommends an automatic, cuff-style, bicep monitor.
- Wrist and finger monitors are not recommended because they yield less reliable readings.
- Choose a monitor that has been validated. If you are unsure, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice or find options at validatebp.org.
- When selecting a blood pressure monitor for a senior, pregnant woman or child, make sure it is validated for these conditions.
- Make sure the cuff fits measure around your upper arm and choose a monitor that comes with the correct size cuff.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Why do I need to monitor my blood pressure at home?
- How often do I need to measure my blood pressure?
- What type of monitor should I use?
- What do my blood pressure readings mean?
- What is considered a normal blood pressure for me?
- What should I do if my readings are abnormal?
- Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to help manage my blood pressure?
- Do I need to take medicine to manage my blood pressure?
- What other things can affect a blood pressure reading?
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Apps To Track Blood Pressure
Although there are apps that promise to check your blood pressure without using equipment, this isnt an accurate or reliable method.
However, there are apps available that can help you track your blood pressure results. This can be helpful in identifying patterns in your blood pressure. Your doctor may use this information to determine if you require blood pressure medications.
Some examples of free blood pressure-monitoring apps include:
- Blood Pressure Monitor Family Litefor iPhone. You can enter your blood pressure, weight, and height, as well as track the medications you take.
- Blood Pressure for Android. This app tracks your blood pressure and features several statistical and graphical analysis tools.
- Blood Pressure Companion for iPhone. This app allows you to track your blood pressure as well as view graphs and trends on your blood pressure readings across several days or weeks.
These apps can help you quickly and easily track your blood pressure readings. Measuring your blood pressure regularly on the same arm can help you most accurately track your blood pressure readings.
How To Check My Blood Pressure With My Apple Watch
Open the Qardio app on your Apple Watch and tap the START button. Do this after you have fitted your QardioArm on your left upper arm, ready to inflate. The START button on your Apple Watch will initiate the measurement. You can also check your measurement history and set up reminders via your Apple Watch.
Correspondingly, can the Apple Watch measure blood pressure? The Apple Watch is capable of scanning for heart conditions and calling for help after injuries. For the blood pressure measurement feature, the company is studying a way to measure the speed of the wave a heartbeat sends through a persons arteries using sensors in the AppleWatch, Winkler reported.
As many you asked, does AppleWatch 6 take blood pressure? Apple has made health and fitness one of the key elements of the Apple Watch. With the Apple Watch Series 6 last year, Apple introduced a sensor that can measure blood oxygen level and unveiled Fitness Plus, a subscription service offering workout routines and more.
Frequent question, how do I check my blood pressure with my iPhone?
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How To Take Your Blood Pressure
You can take your blood pressure at home using a blood pressure monitor and use the blood pressure calculator as guidance on what your reading means. Ensure the monitor has been clinically validated. Find a list of blood pressure monitors available for home use on the British and Irish Hypertension Society website.
- Sit quietly and comfortably on a chair with legs uncrossed and feet flat on the ground with an even surface in front of you.
- Place your arm on the surface in front of you so that it is supported level with your heart. Remove tight clothing and wrap the cuff around your upper arm.
- Activate the blood pressure monitor, the cuff will inflate to restrict the blood flow in your arm is it gauges your blood pressure. This will last for a short time.
- As the cuff deflates, your reading is displayed on the monitor. Enter the two numbers into the blood pressure checker to determine the health of your reading.