High blood pressure is one of the top risk factors for heart attack and stroke as we have been mentioning on these pages time and again. It’s also common among people who develop severe COVID-19 symptoms these days. Blood pressure measurements taken at home are a better indication of your true blood pressure.
So, with more people at home practicing social distancing and with fewer chances to check blood pressure at public pharmacy machines or doctor visits, it’s more important than ever to know how to take blood pressure readings at home properly.
The easiest way to take your own blood pressure is to purchase an automated cuff. Automatic blood pressure machines are the easiest to use, and they’re helpful if you have any hearing impairments. These types of blood pressure cuffs have a digital monitor that will display your blood pressure reading on a screen.
Best Way To Measure Blood Pressure At Home
How do I select a home blood pressure monitor?
“The readings you get at home are really important, because they reflect the pressure your heart is facing on a day-to-day basis,” said Dr. Michael Hochman, a doctor of internal medicine at Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California.
The device should measure blood pressure on the upper arm, which produce a more reliable result than those that measure from the wrist. There are a lot of blood reading machines available which measure blood pressure readings from wrist. Avoid them as they do not give you an exact measurement of your blood pressure.
Many devices are automated. Simply put on the cuff and press a button. The results are displayed digitally.
Some will store readings, calculate an average blood pressure over time, or even transmit them to your doctor should the need arise.
“When blood pressure monitors cannot transmit readings to a patient’s doctor, the next best thing is to have a device that stores the blood pressure readings,” said Paul Muntner, professor of epidemiology and associate dean for research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Your health care provider should check the device about once a year to ensure its accuracy.
How do I get the most accurate measurement?
Do not smoke, drink caffeinated beverages or exercise within 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure. It’s important to use a cuff that fits your arm. Cuffs that are too small can artificially raise your blood pressure reading.
With the cuff on your bare arm, sit in an upright position with back supported, feet flat on the floor and your arm supported at heart level. Make sure the bottom of the cuff is directly above the bend of the elbow. Relax for about five minutes before taking a measurement. Resist the urge to talk or look at a cellphone.
Also, make sure your bladder is empty, as a full one can temporarily raise blood pressure.
Some medications, including over-the-counter pain relievers called NSAIDs and common decongestants, can elevate blood pressure. Alcohol, caffeine, smoking, salt intake and stress can, too.
Muntner recommended people check their blood pressure at the same time each day, such as twice in the morning and twice in the evening for one week, then talk with their doctor about the results.
“Blood pressure fluctuates a lot, so a patient shouldn’t worry about one high reading,” Muntner said. “If the average over a full week is high, there’s reason for people to talk to their doctors. If not, people should continue practicing heart-healthy behaviors and check their BP in the future.”
Precautions To Take While Measuring Blood Pressure At Home?
- Use a validated device which should give accurate readings all the time
- Take measures at around the same time
- Don’t smoke or drink caffeine 30 minutes before measuring, and don’t measure if you’re uncomfortable, stressed or in pain
- Find a quiet place and sit in a comfortable chair. Rest for about five minutes before taking the blood pressure readings.
- Sit quietly for five minutes before measuring, without talking or distractions from other people or television
- Sit correctly, with feet flat on the floor, legs uncrossed, upper arm bare, arm supported with cuff at heart level, and back supported.
- Take two measures, one minute apart
- Record each measure in a paper diary or electronic spreadsheet
- Provide your doctor with your readings
What If You Do Not Have A Blood Pressure Measuring Equipment?
You don’t 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 former 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 you’re checking pulse by hand, you’re looking for more than just a number. You’re also checking for a regular rhythm, which indicates a strong pulse.
What is the ideal blood pressure?
The device will give you a systolic number (upper) – the pressure against your artery walls when your heart beats – and a diastolic number (lower) – the pressure between beats.
For normal readings of less than 120/80, Muntner said it’s not necessary to check blood pressure again for at least six months.
If the top number is 130 or greater, or the bottom number is 80 or greater, Muntner recommended talking with your doctor about your overall risk for heart attack and stroke.
“If someone is at higher risk – for example, they smoke or have diabetes – then they should be started on blood pressure-lowering medication,” he said. However, before you visit a doctor to start taking medicine, we recommend you to take Blood Cleanser, a revolutionary herbal food which can help you lower blood pressure and cleanse your blood so that you can avoid many other disease such as blood sugar and high uric acid levels.
“If it’s very high, 180 or higher (over) 110 or higher, you should call your doctor right away. The longer your blood pressure is high, the more you are at risk for heart attack and stroke.”
There are many ways to lower blood pressure, including medication, getting more exercise, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, not smoking, reducing salt and alcohol consumption, lowering stress and losing weight.
“For some people, it may be easier to reduce the amount of salt they eat. For others, it may be easier to do a little physical activity,” Muntner said. “The important thing is to do the things that work for each individual.” However, Blood Cleanser is expected to help us normalize our blood pressure no matter what our physical situation may be.