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.
How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed
Your blood pressure varies from day to day, even from moment to moment. Generally, if a person has a blood pressure reading taken on 3 separate occasions that is greater than 140/90 mmHg, they have high blood pressure. Your doctor may ask you to monitor your blood pressure at home, or wear a monitor over a 24-hour period, to see how it varies and to make sure they get an accurate reading.
Variations In Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure changes to meet your bodys needs. If a reading is high, your doctor may measure your blood pressure again on several separate occasions to confirm the level.
Your doctor may also recommend that you measure your blood pressure at home or have a 24-hour recording with a monitoring device.
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Do I Have High Blood Pressure
Anyone can have high blood pressure. Some medical conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, kidney disease, and thyroid problems, can cause high blood pressure. Some people have a greater chance of having it because of things they can’t change. These are:
- Age. The chance of having high blood pressure increases as you get older, especially isolated systolic hypertension.
- Gender. Before age 55, men have a greater chance of having high blood pressure. Women are more likely to have high blood pressure after menopause.
- Family history. High blood pressure tends to run in some families.
- Race. African Americans are at increased risk for high blood pressure.
High blood pressure often has no signs or symptoms, but routine checks of your blood pressure will help detect increasing levels. If your blood pressure reading is high at two or more check-ups, the doctor may also ask you to measure your blood pressure at home.
There are important considerations for older adults in deciding whether to start treatment for high blood pressure if it is above 130/80, including other health conditions and overall fitness. Your doctor may work with you to find a blood pressure target that is best for your well-being and may suggest exercise, changes in your diet, and medications.
More People Should Be Measuring Their Blood Pressure At Home For Optimal Health
Regularly checking your own blood pressure offers an important glimpse into your health and gives you the chance to keep your heart and brain in good shape.
Yet most older adults who would especially benefit from this habit dont monitor their numbers at home, the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging found. The results, based on a national sample of Americans 50 to 80 years old, were published this month.
About 60% of people in this age group have had to deal with a stroke, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease or hypertension.
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What Is A Blood Pressure Measurement
Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood into your arteries. A blood pressure measurement is a test that measures the force in your arteries as your heart pumps. Blood pressure is measured as two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure measures pressure inside your arteries when the heart beats.
- Diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure inside the artery when the heart rests between beats.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects tens of millions of adults in the United States. It increases the risk of life-threatening conditions including heart attack and stroke. But high blood pressure rarely causes symptoms. A blood pressure measurement helps diagnose high blood pressure early, so it may be treated before it leads to serious complications.
Other names: blood pressure reading, blood pressure test, blood pressure screening, sphygmomanometry
Why Do I Need A Blood Pressure Test
A blood pressure measurement is often included as part of a regular checkup. Adults 18 years and older should have their blood pressure measured at least once every two to five years. You should get tested every year if you have certain risk factors. You may be at higher risk if you:
- Are 40 years old or older
- Are overweight or have obesity
- Are Black/African American. Black/African Americans have a higher rate of high blood pressure than other racial and ethnic groups
You may need this test if you have symptoms of low blood pressure.
Health & Wellnessnormal Blood Pressure Is A Range How To Read It And When To See A Doctor
A normal blood pressure level is considered to be less than 120/80. The numbers usually go up as people age, with women experiencing a steeper and earlier rise than men.
About 100 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure considered to be the “silent killer” because it often comes with no symptoms and just over half have it under control, according to the American Heart Association.
What Happens During A Blood Pressure Test
A blood pressure test includes the following steps:
- You will sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
- You will rest your arm on a table or other surface, so your arm is level with your heart. You may be asked to roll up your sleeve.
- Your provider will wrap a blood pressure cuff around your arm. A blood pressure cuff is a strap-like device. It should fit snugly around your upper arm, with the bottom edge placed just above your elbow.
- Your provider will inflate the blood pressure cuff using a small hand pump or by pressing a button on an automated device.
- Your provider will measure the pressure manually or with an automated device.
- If manually, he or she will place a stethoscope over the major artery in your upper arm to listen to the blood flow and pulse as the cuff inflates and deflates.
- If using an automated device, the blood pressure cuff automatically inflates, deflates, and measures pressure.
This test only takes about one minute to complete.
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Digital Blood Pressure Machine
Also called a digital sphygmomanometer, these devices can be used at home without any assistance. The process of using a blood pressure device at home, away from a hospital, is called self-measured blood pressure monitoring. These devices are safe and easy to use and comprise a cuff and a monitor to measure ambulatory blood pressure. Ambulatory monitoring involves measuring the blood pressure at set times and requires wearing the cuff for 24 hours.
The accuracy of home blood pressure monitors must be validated once a year by taking it to a medical setup and comparing the values recorded on the devices. Blood pressure can be monitored accurately at home using digital monitors unless one suffers from heart rhythm conditions like atrial fibrillation, arrhythmia, etc.
Half Of Us Adults Should Monitor Blood Pressure At Home Study Says
Please note: This article was published more than two years ago, so some information may be outdated. If you have questions about your health, always contact a health care professional.
Some people go to the doctor and find the intake sonerve-wracking their blood pressure spikes. Others find theroutine relaxing, as they’re asked to rest for a moment andbreathe easy before a blood pressure cuff is wrapped aroundtheir arm.
People with borderline hypertension in both categoriesshould confirm the readings by measuring their bloodpressure outside their health care provider’s office, accordingto new research published Monday in the American HeartAssociation journal Hypertension.
Nearly 93% of U.S. adults who have high blood pressurewhen measured in their doctor’s office and don’t take bloodpressure medicine meet the criteria for “white coathypertension” because their blood pressure is in anacceptable range when re-measured outside a medicalsetting. Meanwhile, about a third of U.S. adults experience”masked hypertension” because their blood pressure levelsmeasured outside of the doctor’s office are more problematicthan measurements at the doctor’s office.
“For some people, a doctor’s office is a place they’rerelaxed,” said Paul Muntner, an epidemiologist at theUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham and the study’s seniorauthor. “They are away from job stress, traffic and familyissues.”
Measuring blood pressure outside of amedical setting doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult.
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How Does Blood Pressure Work
Blood pressure is the force against blood vessel walls as the heart pumps blood. When the heart squeezes and pushes blood into the vessels, blood pressure goes up. It comes down when the heart relaxes.
Blood pressure changes from minute to minute. It’s affected by activity and rest, body temperature, diet, emotions, posture, and medicines.
Know Your Numbers Campaign
This yearly event encourages people to get their blood pressure checked, in order to identify those who have undiagnosed and uncontrolled high blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, usually does not present with any symptoms. According to bloodpressureuk.org, around a third of people in the UK have high blood pressure, but most are unaware of the problem.
In previous years, the campaign encouraged people to visit local test sites at hospitals, gyms, supermarkets, and medical centres for a free blood pressure check. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year there are no community testing stations, but instead people are being encouraged to buy or borrow a monitor and check their blood pressure at home.
Using a home blood pressure monitor means people can take their own readings and check the results against one of the many useful guides online to see whether they have high blood pressure.
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What Is It Used For
A blood pressure measurement is most often used to diagnose high blood pressure.
Blood pressure that’s too low, known as hypotension, is much less common. But you may get tested for low blood pressure if you have certain symptoms. Unlike high blood pressure, low blood pressure usually causes symptoms. These include:
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
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Very Good Reasons To Track Your Blood Pressure At Home
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For the millions of men and women with diagnosed high blood pressure, occasional blood pressure checks at the doctor’s office is often not enough. Keeping tabs on your BP at home can help doctors make an earlier diagnosis, give you feedback about how you’re doing and help reinforce any efforts you are making. Even if you’re someone whose blood pressure checks normal at the doctor’s office, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear. “Masked hypertension” occurs in up to 20% of adults, influenced by risk factors including high stress jobs or stressful family situations, family history, age or obesity. If you need more convincing that you should track your blood pressure at home, check out these 5 reasons.
- Be Alert on time – More than 350,000 American die every year from high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. That is 1,000 deaths every day. Home blood pressure monitoring can help you and your doctor diagnose high blood pressure earlier than if you have only infrequent blood pressure readings in the doctor’s office. More frequent blood pressure monitoring allows more opportunities to detect blood pressure that is higher than normal and treat it on time.
Why Should One Have A Blood Pressure Monitor At Home
The benefits of having a blood pressure machine at home include:
- Home BP monitor machines can help measure blood pressure daily, which can prevent sudden health complications such as heart failure and stroke.
- Digital BP machines can monitor ambulatory blood pressure 24 hours a day, which can help in diagnosing masked hypertension, thereby reducing the risk of organ damage.
- Since digital blood pressure machines are small in size, they can be carried around while travelling somewhere.
- Digital BP machines can be extremely helpful to those who cannot visit a doctor regularly to get their blood pressure measured such as old and bed-ridden people and pregnant women.
- Medical centres often trigger anxiety and spike the blood pressure of many people, which is known as white coat hypertension. Digital BP machines can help measure the correct blood pressure of such patients.
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Tracking Your Blood Pressure At Home: Does It Help
British researchers wanted to know whether adding home blood pressure monitoring could improve on standard care for people with high blood pressure. Here’s a summary of their findings, which were published in the March 10 issue of The Lancet.
Who: Just over 1,000 adults with poorly controlled blood pressure. Their blood pressure readings averaged about 153/86 mm Hg when the study began.
How: Researchers randomly assigned each participant to one of three groups: standard care , self-monitoring, or telemonitoring.
When: Those in the control group had their blood pressure measured at their doctors’ offices. Those in other two groups also measured their blood pressure at home for one week every month over the course of one year. The self-monitors mailed their readings to their doctors. The telemonitoring patients texted their results, and got reminders if they didn’t transmit their readings as well as alerts to contact their doctors if their readings were very high or very low.
Key findings: By the end of the year, people in the control group had lowered their average systolic blood pressure to 140 mm Hg. But those in the self-monitoring group and the telemonitoring group had lowered theirs to 137 and 136, respectively.
Lower Blood Pressure Is A Boon For The Brain
Better brain health is another potential benefit of managing high blood pressure. Researchers on the SPRINT MIND study found that participants who had their systolic blood pressure controlled to 120 mm Hg had a lower incidence of mild cognitive impairment a precursor for dementia compared with participants in the standard group.
“With all that in mind the lower rate of major adverse vascular events, the reduction in stroke, the reduction of mortality, the trend for better brain health all of this is in favor that we should be doing a better job of treating older adults with high blood pressure, Michos says.
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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.
What Kind Of Bp Monitor To Use With Hello Heart Iphone/ipad Software
You can use any manual blood pressure monitor/cuff you buy on Amazon from the $25 models to the most expensive. With these you, use the cuff and type in your numbers into the app. Or if you are a connected digital type, we use Apple HealthKit to support iHealth Wireless BP or Withings Wireless BP in the Apple store on on Amazon. You can or learn more about how it works.
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How To Take Your Blood Pressure At Home
What you do beforehand can affect your blood pressure readings. Your blood pressure may be high due to:
- Certain medications like decongestants and anti-inflammatories.
You can manually check your blood pressure at home or use an automated blood pressure machine that calculates your reading for you.
An automated blood pressure machine may be ideal for most since it only requires one person to use it, provides accurate readings and is easy to use. You can find affordable blood pressure machines online and at most grocery stores or local pharmacies.
To take your blood pressure manually, youll need a blood pressure cuff with a squeezable balloon and a stethoscope.
Whatever method you use, before you take your blood pressure find a quiet place and sit still for about 5 minutes.
Make sure you havent exercised or had caffeine or any kind of stimulant for about half an hour prior to checking your blood pressure, says Dr. Distel.
Sit at a table with both of your feet on the ground, legs uncrossed. Sit in a chair with back support so that you can lean back and relax. Place your arms up on the table so theyre at chest height.
Check that you have the right size cuff, too. You dont want one too big or too small. Then, roll up the sleeve on your left arm or remove any tight-sleeved clothing, if needed.
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