How to check your Blood pressure at home
Did you know that there are approximately 234 million Indians who have high blood pressure? 11.3% of the people are between the ages of 15 and 49. The younger generation is especially in danger of acquiring high blood pressure because of their hectic and stressful lives. This article will guide you on how to measure blood pressure at home.
Why measure your blood pressure at home?
The white coat effect, also known as white coat syndrome, is when your blood pressure temporarily increases as an outcome of the anxiety of having your blood pressure tested at a clinic.
Keeping an eye on your numbers at home can provide you and your doctor or nurse a full picture of what your blood pressure is like day to day and how well your medications or lifestyle changes are working, especially because you can only check your blood pressure in a clinic sometimes.
Although it is now a crucial component of managing high blood pressure, home blood pressure monitoring is not right for everyone.
When they begin measuring at home, some people experience increased anxiety and take readings far too frequently. You can speak with your doctor or nurse about this if you’re feeling anxious beforehand.
Before understanding how to check your blood pressure at home, we should first learn some basic knowledge about blood pressure ( what is Blood pressure, its role in our body, etc.).
What is blood pressure?
The force that propels blood through the circulatory system is blood pressure. Blood pressure is a crucial force because, without it, the circulatory system could not push nutrients and oxygen to nourish tissues and organs.
Because it transports hormones like insulin, white blood cells, and antibodies for immunity, blood pressure is also essential.
The new blood that is provided is able to take up the toxic waste products of metabolism, including the carbon dioxide, we exhale with every breath and the toxins we clear through the liver and kidneys, which is just as crucial as giving oxygen and nutrition.
But why does blood pressure in the arteries actually exist? A portion of the solution is straightforward: with each beating, the heart contracts, forcing blood out of the body. But a pounding heart cannot produce blood pressure on its own.
The Role of blood pressure in the body
Blood has “flow,” and arteries are “pipes,” just like in a highly complex plumbing system. Blood flow is caused by a fundamental physical fact that also holds true in a garden hose pipe.
A difference in pressure causes blood to circulate through the body.
The beginning of the blood pressure’s journey from the heart, when it enters the aorta, is when it is highest, and the end of the journey, along progressively smaller branches of arteries, is when it is lowest. The differential in pressure is what causes the blood to circulate.
Blood pressure and blood flow are influenced by artery health, and narrowing of the arteries can finally completely cut off the supply, resulting in hazardous diseases including heart attack and stroke.
The instrument used to measure Blood pressure at home
Although there are many various types of at-home blood pressure monitors, it is easiest to utilize a completely automatic monitor (digital).
The sphygmomanometer is the tool used to measure blood pressure. It comprises a rubber armband that is inflated using a manual pump or an electric pump.
An electronic or analog dial reading is taken once the cuff has been inflated enough to halt the pulse.
The reading is given as the amount of force required to drive mercury around a tube against gravity. This is the basis for adopting the abbreviation mm Hg—millimeters of mercury—to measure pressure.
Normal blood pressure checks don’t hurt or feel uncomfortable. It might, however, momentarily feel constrictive around the arm.
The correct way to find a blood pressure monitor
If you choose to take your blood pressure readings at home, the hospital or GP’s office may provide a monitor, but you will likely need to purchase a home monitor.
It can be confusing because there are so many different types of at-home blood pressure monitors available. Making sure it offers you accurate data and is simple to use is crucial.
Depending on the monitor you select, ensure that it is:
- clinically validated denotes that it has undergone testing and provides reliable findings.
- Automatic (digital) devices with upper arm cuffs are the simplest to operate and the most trustworthy.
- within your means; the equipment merely needs to be simple to use and scientifically verified rather than pricey one.
How to measure blood pressure at home using a blood pressure monitor?
- Two to three centimetres above the elbow joint is the ideal placement for the cuff. If it is feasible, place it adjacent to the skin or over a thin piece of fabric.
- The artery line should be crossed by the centre of the bladder in the cuff. This is typically marked on handcuffs.
- To lift the arm high enough, it may be necessary to use a cushion to support it at the heart level. The systolic and diastolic pressures may be overestimated by roughly 10 mmHg if the arm is below heart level. Underestimation may result from raising the arm above the heart.
- By turning on the monitor and clicking “start,” you can take your reading. Take a second reading after a while because the first one is frequently high.
- The numbers should be typed out precisely as they appear on the screen.
- Follow the flowchart using these numbers to determine the appropriate course of action.
- View the locations of the numbers on our blood pressure chart as well.
What do the numbers on the monitor mean?
You will be given two numbers—a top number and a bottom number—when your blood pressure is taken.
- Systolic blood pressure: The role of this pressure is to measure the pressure in our arteries when our heart beats or pumps our blood.
- Diastolic blood pressure: The role of this pressure is to measure the pressure in our arteries when our heart tends to rest between beats.
Millimetres of mercury are used to measure blood pressure (mmHg). It would be written as 120/80mmHg and referred to as “120 over 80” if the systolic pressure is 120 and the diastolic pressure is 80.
What do the results indicate?
- Your blood pressure may be elevated if it is 140/90 mmHg or above.
The cutoff value for diagnosing high blood pressure is often 140/90mmHg (hypertension).
- Pre-high blood pressure ranges from 120/80 to 140/90 mmHg.
additionally known as high-normal blood pressure. Although this is not high blood pressure, it is slightly above normal and indicates that high blood pressure may eventually develop in you.
- An ideal blood pressure range is between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
likewise known as normal blood pressure. The reading of your blood pressure is normal. Your risk of developing heart disease and stroke is significantly lower at this level.
- A blood pressure of 90/60 mmHg or below may indicate low blood pressure.
Low blood pressure often doesn’t cause any problems, although it can occasionally cause fainting, make you feel lightheaded, or indicate another health issue.
Things to keep in mind before checking your Blood pressure at home and get an accurate reading
- It’s crucial that you solely employ validated equipment. Blood pressure monitors for the wrist or the fingers are not advised.
- Before reading, avoid eating, exercising, or taking any medications. For 30 minutes prior to your reading, avoid any smoking or consuming caffeine as they can momentarily boost blood pressure.
- Empty bladder first.
- Before you start your reading, take five minutes to sit quietly. While the reading is being taken, remain motionless and silent because talking and moving both impair accuracy.
- Your back should be supported, and your arms should be at your sides.
- Every day at the same time, if it’s convenient for you, take your blood pressure. Take three readings of your blood pressure, spaced one to two minutes apart, each time you check it.
Keeping a record of your Blood pressure reading
Keeping track of your blood pressure will allow you and your doctor to determine how therapies and lifestyle changes are impacting it and whether you require a change in your therapy. When you have an appointment, bring your record with you.
Depending on your preference, you can save your readings in the monitor’s memory, on a computer, phone, or piece of paper. Keep a note elsewhere if you share your monitor with someone else so that your readings don’t become mixed up.
It’s beneficial to record your blood pressure readings in a journal. Even the readings that you choose not to include in your average should be noted. If possible, make a note of the day, the time, and the dose of your blood pressure medicine. It’s also a good idea to make a note of anything that might have changed your blood pressure, such as treatment changes, illness episodes, or current symptoms like headaches or dizziness.
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