With the rise of stress, unhealthy eating habits and changing lifestyle, majority of the people start experiencing the issues related to blood pressure in their forties. Generally, people ignore it and don’t take high blood pressure seriously which can result in severe complications and fatal results. High blood pressure is the most common reason for majority of the heart and stroke problems.
So, what can you do to avoid this problem?
Monitoring your blood pressure on a regular basis is one of the crucial things which you can do to avoid complications due to high blood pressure. The American Heart Association (AHA) also recommends home monitoring for the people who have high blood pressure to provide better treatment for their health issues.
This can be easily done with the help of blood pressure monitors which are widely available without a prescription. There are hundreds of monitors available in the market but to choose the best blood pressure monitors, you need to have a few things in mind such as cuff size, display, memory or storage capability, price, brand etc.
In this article, I will guide you how to measure your blood pressure at home using a blood pressure monitor and the steps or precautions to follow in order to monitor your blood pressure effectively.
Simple steps to follow before you take your blood pressure reading:
- Wear loose clothes such as a short sleeve t-shirt or shirt as you need to push your sleeve up while measuring your blood pressure.
- Don’t take your blood pressure reading over cloth as it might not give you correct readings. Always take the reading on your skin to get the accurate results.
- Rest for five minutes before taking your readings. You should sit comfortably at a quiet place, preferably in a chair with both the feet on the floor and your arm should rest comfortably on the table so that the blood pressure cuff is at the same level as your heart. You can take the support of a cushion to ensure that your arm is at correct height.
- A lot of things can play a role in varying your blood pressure by some margin such as going for a pee, having heavy meal, smoking, drinking etc. Make sure you don’t go to toilet, have food, coffee or indulge in smoking within 30 minutes of measuring your blood pressure.
- It is important to use the same arm for taking the blood pressure readings as each arm will give you a different BP reading. Prefer using the arm which your doctor or nurse uses for measuring your blood pressure.
- Measure your blood pressure (BP) twice a day. Take the first reading in the morning and the second reading in the evening. Also make it a habit to measure your blood Pressure at about the same time every day. Taking reading on a daily basis is a better idea to find whether your body is responding to the treatment or not. Moreover, it will also help your doctor take some important decisions about your treatment.
- You should take multiple readings to confirm your correct blood pressure level. It is better to take three readings, each at one minute apart. Use an online tracker or a printable log sheet to record the results. If your monitor has the feature to record the result, you can take it with you to your appointments with the doctor. Some monitors come with the feature to upload your recorded readings to their secured website after you register your profile.
Follow these instructions to get accurate blood pressure readings.
How to use a blood pressure monitor?
- Remove all the clothes from your upper arm so that cuff can easily fit directly into the skin. Don’t cross your legs and ankles and give your back some support by using a comfortable chair
- Wrap the cuff properly around your upper arm and keep around 2-finger room between the cuff and your arm. The bottom of the cuff should be placed directly above the bend of the elbow.
- Press the bell of the stethoscope over the brachial artery below the cuff’s edge
- Now, inflate the cuff up to 180 mmHg
- Release pressure from the cuff at a moderate rate of 3 mm per second
- Pay attention to the sphygmomanometer and listen the knocking sound with the stethoscope. The sound you notice is the systolic pressure and the last knocking sound gives you the diastolic pressure
- You can measure your blood pressure two more times at a gap of 1-2 minutes to get an accurate reading
You can also follow the instructions given on your blood pressure monitoring device to get the accurate results.
According to the American Heart Association, the automatic, bicep, cuff-style monitor are best suited for home and finger and wrist measuring monitors are not recommended for home as it gives less reliable readings.
Choosing the right blood pressure monitor is very crucial for you. If you are not sure how to select a suitable monitor, you can consider your doctor for the best advice as per your case. It is better to show your blood pressure monitor to your doctor once in a year just to make sure that the monitor is giving accurate readings or not.
Checking your blood pressure at home is a crucial part of managing high blood pressure. So if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, you need crucial monitoring of your blood pressure levels at home on a regular basis. I hope with this article you are now aware of the process and instructions to be followed for properly monitoring your blood pressure which will help you properly track and keep it under control.
Feel free to comment below and let us know if this article has helped you in effectively monitoring your blood pressure and share it with your friends and family members to help them check and control their blood pressure issues.