How Do I Check My Blood Pressure At Home
Avoid exercise, caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants 30 minutes before checking your blood pressure.
Empty your bladder.
Rest quietly and avoid talking or texting for at least five minutes before taking your blood pressure and during the measurement.
Wrap the cuff snugly on your bare arm. The instructions will tell you how to line it up. If you are wearing a tight shirt, take your arm out of the sleeve. Your arm should rest on a flat surface with your upper arm at the level of your heart.
Sit with your back supported, legs uncrossed, and feet flat on the ground as shown in the photo.
Look For Your Carotid Artery
The second step is to find the carotid artery that runs through the neck. Please see the diagram above.
Again, its important to understand that this is a rough estimate that only tells you if your systolic blood pressure is not low.
- Press lightly until you feel a pulse.
- Do not press too hard as this restricts blood flow.
- A palpated pulse on the carotid artery means that the heart is pumping a pressure of 60-70 mm Hg.
What Are The Benefits
There is a substantial evidence base supporting the use of home blood pressure monitoring. It has been shown to:
- give a better reflection of blood pressure, as being tested in somewhere like a GP surgery can make patients feel anxious and can affect the result
- allow patients to monitor their condition more easily in the long term
- reduce the incidence of clinical events such as death, heart attack or stroke, over five years
- save GP time by shifting care from doctors to other members of the multidisciplinary team
- be cost effective.
Regular home blood pressure monitoring across a population of 50,000 patients could prevent up to 500 heart attacks and 745 strokes over five years. This video produced UCLPartners describes the benefits of remote monitoring blood pressure.
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If You Get A High Blood Pressure Reading
- A single high reading is not an immediate cause for alarm. If you get a reading that is slightly or moderately higher than normal, take your blood pressure a few more times and consult your health care professional to verify if there s a health concern or whether there may be any issues with your monitor.
- If your blood pressure readings suddenly exceed 180/120 mm Hg, wait five minutes and test again. If your readings are still unusually high, contact your doctor immediately. You could be experiencing a hypertensive crisis.
- If your blood pressure is higher than 180/120 mm Hg and you are experiencing signs of possible organ damage such as chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness/weakness, change in vision, difficulty speaking, do not wait to see if your pressure comes down on its own. Call 911.
Blood Pressure Monitoring At Home
Last Updated August 2022 | This article was created by familydoctor.org editorial staff and reviewed by Kyle Bradford Jones
Many people monitor their blood pressure at home. They often do this to manage or treat a certain health condition. If you monitor your blood pressure at home, keep a record or log of the measurements. The record shows your doctor how your blood pressure changes throughout the day. If you take medicines to control your blood pressure, it will help document if they are working. Measuring your blood pressure at home is a good way to actively manage your health.
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How Can I Check My Blood Pressure At Home Using
But you dont need to go to your doctor just to get a blood pressure reading. The easiest way to monitor your own blood pressure at home is to get a machine that has a blood pressure calculator and digital display.
Purchase a blood pressure monitor cuff that wraps around the upper arm. The cuff should fit well, and not be too loose or too tight when not in use. Wrist and finger monitors are not recommended because the readings arent as reliable. When choosing a blood pressure monitor, take it to your doctors office. They may be able to show you how to use it properly and check whether the machine provides accurate readings.
Here are some tips to follow while measuring your blood pressure at home:
- Before measuring your blood pressure, sit quietly for 5 minutes with your arm relaxed on a supporting surface at the level of your heart.
- Your back should be supported and both feet should be flat on the floor.
- The cuff should be positioned on your upper arm as instructed on the guide that came with the monitor. It is easier to use your non-dominant arm .
- Avoid caffeine, smoking, or exercise at least 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure. Do not take a reading if stressed or angry.
Blood pressure categories defined by the American Heart Association are as follows:
- Normal: Below 120/80 mm Hg
- Prehypertension: 120-139/80-90 mm Hg
Monitoring Bp Without An Equipment
Caution: Monitoring blood pressure at home without Blood Pressure monitoring equipment is never entirely accurate. People who favor this method should also watch out for high blood and low blood symptoms to support the result. This step is taught but not very widely accepted. It is merely to give patients a rough idea of their blood pressure level to avoid any wrong assumptions.
There are a few things to consider if you wish to check your blood pressure at home without monitoring equipment.
Your doctor should be notified you want to do it without a device. Your cardiologist will tell you when and how to do it.
Here are certain methods on how to monitor your blood pressure without any monitoring equipment. You will do it through artery palpation.
First, you have to locate the radial pulse of the other hand with your index and middle fingers. You may use whichever hand suits you. The radial artery is at the wrist at the lower arm. Palpate your wrist to feel the pulse.
Now, when you locate the pulse, feel how strong it is
If the pulse seems moderate, the systolic measurement is 80 mmHg.
If the pulse seems weak it is about 60 to 70 mmHg.
And, if the pulse is very palpable, you have a systolic measurement higher than 80 mmHg.
This artery is located at the groin.
Feel for a pulse slightly below the groin and above the thigh. A strong pulse means the systolic measurement is about 70 to 80 mmHg.
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How To Check Blood Pressure Without Equipment
In a healthy young adult, the average value of blood pressure is usually 120/80 millimeters of mercury .
But what do these numbers mean? The first number represents the systolic pressure or amount of pressure generated while the heart pumps blood and then contracts for the blood to leave the heart.
In simple terms, the systolic pressure measures the pressure created by the contractions of the heart.
On the other hand, the second value measures the diastolic pressure, which is the pressure existing in the arteries of the heart while it rests.
Expressed in simple terms, the diastolic pressure readings measure the pressure of the heart when it is at rest.
These two figures combine to give doctors an accurate reading of heart muscle function.
If the numbers are too high, this is the first indication of a possible condition called high blood pressure or hypertension.
Although it is impossible to adequately measure blood pressure without some type of equipment, you can make a good estimate of the systolic pressure.
To measure the diastolic pressure, however, you should use a blood pressure monitor and a stethoscope. No measurement requires the use of high-tech equipment or a doctorâs diploma.
Through this article, you will learn how to measure blood pressure with little or no equipment.
How Can I Check My Blood Pressure At Home Without A Machine Topic Guide
- Blood pressure, a measurement of the force of blood flow inside the body, can tell a doctor a lot about your cardiovascular health. Once you are an adult, there is a standard healthy range you should aim for through diet and lifestyle, or medication if necessary. There is a greater range of healthy blood pressure readings for children and adolescents as body size, hormones and growth rates may affect this measurement.
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How Can I Check My Blood Pressure At Home A Step
4 Minute Read
Many people with high blood pressure check their own blood pressure at home. However, you dont need to have a high blood pressure diagnosis to do so yourself.
Your blood pressure is the amount of force placed on the walls of your blood vessels as your heart pumps blood. What you learn from taking your blood pressure can improve your lifestyle and may prevent a future, life-changing diagnosis.
Why Is Blood Pressure Higher In The Legs Than Arms
It has been recognized for some time that systolic pressures at the level of the ankles can also be elevated in comparison to pressures measured in the arm. This is usually attributed to calcification of the arteries, which prevents arterial compression and results in a falsely elevated pressure measurement.
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How To Self Monitor
Home blood pressure monitoring is different than taking it at your doctors office because youll be comparing one relatively steady measurement to another over time. When scheduling checks, there are some factors to keep in mind so that you get more accurate results. Follow these tips if you are testing at home:
Keep A Blood Pressure Diary
Keep a blood pressure diary. Your records may help explain changes in your blood pressure readings and help your doctor make sure you get the right treatment.
Everyone’s blood pressure changes from day to day and even from minute to minute sometimes. Blood pressure tends to be higher in the morning and lower at night. Stress, smoking, eating, exercise, cold, pain, noise, medicines, and even talking can affect it.
Record your blood pressure numbers with the date and time. You might use a home blood pressure log or a spreadsheet on your computer. Your monitor might have a feature that will record your numbers for you. Some monitors can transfer this information to your computer.
Also record your daily activities, such as the time you take medicine or if you feel upset or feel stressed.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Why do I need to monitor my blood pressure at home?
- How often do I need to measure my blood pressure?
- What type of monitor should I use?
- What do my blood pressure readings mean?
- What is considered a normal blood pressure for me?
- What should I do if my readings are abnormal?
- Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to help manage my blood pressure?
- Do I need to take medicine to manage my blood pressure?
- What other things can affect a blood pressure reading?
What Is Nhs England And Nhs Improvement Doing To Help
Since October 2020, over 220,000 blood pressure monitors have been distributed around England so that patients can record their blood pressure and send their readings to their GP practice to review, by telephone, email or via a remote monitoring platform.
In addition, those who already own a blood pressure monitor can discuss with their GP how to monitor their blood pressure at home. If you would like to buy a blood pressure monitor, please go to the British Heart Foundation giftshop.
This work, called Blood Pressure @home, forms one part of a range of initiatives being developed by the NHS to transform health and care services so that people are supported to keep well, recover and manage their health and wellbeing at home.
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What Is Essential Hypertension
In as many as 95% of reported high blood pressure cases in the U.S., the underlying cause can’t be determined. This is essential hypertension.
High blood pressure tends to run in families. Age and race also play a role.
More than 40% of all African Americans in the U.S. have high blood pressure.
Diet and lifestyle also play a big role in essential hypertension. The link between salt and high blood pressure is especially noteworthy. People living on the northern islands of Japan eat more salt than anyone else in the world. They’re also most likely to get hypertension.
Many people with high blood pressure are “salt sensitive.” That means anything more a minimal amount will raise their blood pressure.
Other things associated with essential hypertension include:
- Heavy alcohol use
What Does My Blood Pressure Reading Mean
Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or lower. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90, you may have something called prehypertension. This means that you are at risk for high blood pressure.
If you have diabetes or kidney disease, high blood pressure ranges may be lower than for other people. Or, if you are older than 65, goal blood pressure may be higher. Talk to your doctor about what is considered high blood pressure for you.
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When And Where To Get Your Blood Pressure Tested
You should have a blood pressure test if you’re worried about your blood pressure at any time.
If you’re over 40, you can have this test done as part of an NHS Health Check, which is offered to adults in England aged 40 to 74 every 5 years.
If you have been diagnosed with high or low blood pressure, or you have a high risk of developing either, you may need more frequent checks of your blood pressure.
You can get your blood pressure tested at a number of places, including:
- your local GP surgery
- some workplaces
Whats A Normal Blood Pressure
For most patients, a normal blood pressure reading is less than 120 for systolic and less than 80 for diastolic .
At the doctors office, a systolic measurement of 120 to 139 and a diastolic of 80 to 89 are considered prehypertension for most patients. Anything above 140/90 is considered hypertension.
Away from the doctors office, a reading above 135/85 is considered to be high often, people are more relaxed during readings that dont occur at the doctors office.
Aside from white coat hypertension, other factors can cause your blood pressure to read higher at the doctors office. When a patient has to use the restroom, his/her blood pressure can increase slightly. Likewise, if a patient has to walk up a flight of stairs to reach the doctors office or is frustrated by a long wait to see the physician, his/her blood pressure may increase.
Consider monitoring your blood pressure at home if youre concerned that your regular check-ups dont provide an accurate view of your blood pressure.
If your at-home readings are higher than your target range, request an appointment with your doctor to make sure youre measuring correctly at home, and to rule out another health condition.
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How To Use A Home Blood Pressure Monitor
- Be still. Don’t smoke, drink caffeinated beverages or exercise within 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure. Empty your bladder and ensure at least 5 minutes of quiet rest before measurements.
- Sit correctly.Sit with your back straight and supported . Your feet should be flat on the floor and your legs should not be crossed. Your arm should be supported on a flat surface with the upper arm at heart level. Make sure the bottom of the cuff is placed directly above the bend of the elbow. Check your monitor’s instructions for an illustration or have your health care professional show you how.
- Measure at the same time every day. Its important to take the readings at the same time each day, such as morning and evening. It is best to take the readings daily however ideally beginning 2 weeks after a change in treatment and during the week before your next appointment.
- Take multiple readings and record the results. Each time you measure, take two or three readings one minute apart and record the results using a tracker. If your monitor has built-in memory to store your readings, take it with you to your appointments. Some monitors may also allow you to upload your readings to a secure website after you register your profile.
- Don’t take the measurement over clothes.
|HIGHER THAN 120
Note: A diagnosis of high blood pressure must be confirmed with a medical professional. A doctor should also evaluate any unusually low blood pressure readings.
When Should I Check My Blood Pressure
Our blood pressure fluctuates during the day, so when you start tracking your blood pressure, you should check it at different times of the day, about 5-6 times. Once you establish a routine of checking your blood pressure and have gained a better understanding of the numbers, you can begin checking it once or twice a day, at the same time each day.
If it has already been determined that you have high blood pressure, it is important to measure your blood pressure at roughly the same times each day. This will provide consistent readings less affected by other factors, and therefore show how well your medication and dosage are working.Getting into the habit of checking your blood pressure in the morning and again before bed is generally the best practice. For the A.M. reading, donât take it immediately when you wake up however, you should measure before breakfast or your morning coffee.
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