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What Is The Proper Method To Take My Blood Pressure?

Sunday, September 06, 2015

There are two numbers in a blood pressure reading with the top number termed systolic BP, while the bottom number is called diastolic BP. Normal blood pressure is generally considered to be less than 130/90. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure you will be at greater risk of getting a heart attack or stroke, so you may be on medications, and have probably been advised to monitor your blood pressure at home using a digital monitor. In order to ensure you’re getting accurate readings its essential to follow the device’s instructions:

  • Wear loose-fitting clothes, for example a short-sleeved shirt, and find a quiet place, at a desk or table to take the reading.
  • Before taking a reading sit and rest for around 5 minutes. Extend your arm and support it on a flat surface, with your arm at the same height as your heart. Both feet should be flat on the floor.
  • Don’t take your blood pressure within 30 minutes of drinking coffee, smoking or exercising since these tend to temporarily elevate BP. Also do not measure blood pressure just after eating a big meal.
  • Don’t take readings from arms that are injured. Take readings from the same arm each time since each arm will give you a slightly different reading – and use the same arm the doctor or nurse uses when you have your BP measured at the physicians office.
  • Position the cuff around one inch above the elbow and wrap it to fit snugly around the arm. Your blood pressure reading is liable to be incorrect if the cuff is too loose.
  • Switch on your BP monitor and follow the instructions. The device will feature a pump that inflates the cuff - this may feel a little tight at first, but you will soon get used to the sensation.
  • Write down the blood pressure reading as well as the time and date - also write down which arm you took the reading from. It’s also recommended to take three readings and write down both, and you can do these a minute apart. You can then work out the average. If your BP is high initially it may fall - and it’s the lower readings you should take as the real reading. Don’t be alarmed if you get a one off high reading - wait until later and take another measurement. If it continues to be high contact your doctor.
  • Don’t get stressed about small changes in readings - worrying can actually make readings higher.
  • Don’t round up readings - you need to keep an accurate record of blood pressure.
  • Don’t read or talk while you are taking your reading since these can affect it.

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