Why you should Take your Blood Pressure at Home, and how to Do It
When it comes to keeping tabs on your health, your blood pressure is a vital sign of how you're doing.
It could indicate a serious condition such as chronic kidney disease, stroke, or heart disease.
Laura Distel MD, a family medicine specialist, shares her reasons for taking your blood pressure at-home and the best way to do so.
You can take your blood pressure online. You can check your blood pressure from home. You may be referred to your doctor if you have high blood pressure or are suffering from symptoms such as blurred vision, lightheadedness, or headaches.
Dr. Distel says, "One reason why it's so high is because we are trying to eliminate what we call white-coat hypertension." This is when the blood pressure at home is normal but high in the office. When deciding if someone is on medication or should they be treated, it's worth checking out their home.
However, even though your doctor has given you normal readings, Dr. Diltel advises taking your blood pressure home to ensure it is still within safe levels.
According to her, "Some people may have higher blood pressure at their home." It's a good idea to check your blood pressure at home. If you rely only on what's happening in the office for information, you might miss out on a chance to improve your overall health.
You can take your blood pressure at your home. What you do before taking your readings will affect them. High blood pressure could be due to:
Stress. Smoking. It is not recommended to smoke in colder temperatures. Exercise. A full stomach. Full bladder. Caffeine. Some medications, such as decongestants or anti-inflammatory medicines. An automated blood pressure machine can calculate your reading automatically for you.
The best automated blood pressure machines are ideal for everyone because they only require one person, provide accurate readings and are easy to use. Online, at many grocery stores and local pharmacies, you can purchase affordable blood pressure devices.
You will need to use a blood pressure monitor with a balloon that can be squeezed and a stethoscope in order to manually take your blood pressure.
No matter what method, you should take blood pressure before taking it. Find a calm place where you can sit for at least 5 minutes.
Dr. Distel advises that you should not have taken any stimulants or exercise for at least half an hour before checking your blood pressure.
Sit down at a table and place your feet flat on the ground. So that you can relax and lean back, get into a comfortable chair with back support. You should place your arms at the chest height on the table.
Make sure that the cuff is right-sized. It is important to not have one too small or too large. Next, fold up your left arm, or take off any long-sleeved clothing if necessary.
The machine will turn on. Wait for the machine to turn on by pressing the power button. The cuff should be inflated. Some models require that you press a button, while others may need to be inflated by using the attached balloon. To inflate, make sure the gauge is reading about 30 points (30 mm Hg) below your blood pressure. Pay attention to the monitor. On the monitor, your blood pressure readings are displayed. For more information about how to interpret the numbers, refer to the manual. The reading may end with a loud beep. While you wait for your cuffs to inflate, take a note about the reading. Find your pulse to determine your blood pressure. To do this, press your middle and index finger on your elbow. In the same spot, you can use a Stethoscope. You will need to inflate the cuff. After the arm cuff has been secured, inflate it until the gauge is about 30 points (30 mm Hg) higher than your usual blood pressure. While inflating, you should be able to hear your pulse through the stethoscope. Release pressure slowly. Listen for the first pulse while you do this. Take a note of what you hear on your gauge. This is the systolic pressure, or top number. Keep listening. When you have completely deflated the cuff you will notice your pulse going away. This is your diastolic pressure. Keep this number on the gauge. This is your diastolic blood pressure, the bottom number. Your blood pressure is best taken in the morning, and then again in the evening. "Then, take two readings at the same time. They should be no more than a minute apart." Dr. Distel says. Wait a while and try again if your reading is too high/low.
You can also try to get into a routine so that you are able to notice patterns and shifts in the results.
You'll need to keep track of your readings by keeping a notebook or journal. You should record the time, date, heart beat, heart rate, and arm on which you performed the readings. These details will assist you in noticing any significant changes.
Dr. Distel suggests that you talk with your doctor to discuss 24-hour ambulatory monitoring of blood pressure. You can have your blood pressure measured in a 24 hour period while you're sleeping.
Dr. Distel says, "It measures your blood pressure once every three to five seconds." It could also be an option if someone doesn't wish to continuously check their blood pressure.
Your readings. The top number is your systolic (force of blood against the walls) as your heart beats. Your diastolic blood pressure is the difference between your heartbeats and the top number.
You should consult your doctor if the highest number is more than 130 and the lowest number is more than 80. They can advise you on lifestyle changes that you must make as well as whether or not you will need medication.
High blood pressure may lead to serious complications over the long-term, says Dr. High blood pressure can result in chronic kidney disease, strokes or heart disease.
You can lower blood pressure by making simple lifestyle changes such as increasing your exercise and eating well.
Dr. Distel states that "the biggest thing" is making lifestyle adjustments. Dr. Distel suggests that you reduce your salt and sodium intake, as well as increasing your exercise.
You can learn more about hypertension by listening to Health Essentials Podcast episode "Combating High Blood Pressure". New episodes are released every Wednesday on the Health Essentials Podcast.