HIGH blood pressure is a common condition whereby the force of blood pushing against your artery walls is consistently too high. This pressure gradually causes your arteries to harden and narrow, which means the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body. This mechanism can raise your risk of having a heart attack so it is important to keep it in check. How can you effectively measure your own blood pressure at home?
Blood pressure tests can be carried out at a number of places such as your local GP surgery, some pharmacies and workplaces. They can also be carried out at home.
According to the NHS, “This can give a better reflection of your blood pressure, as being tested in somewhere like a GP surgery can make you feel anxious and can affect the result. It can also allow you to monitor your condition more easily in the long term.”
When choosing a home blood pressure monitor, there are a number of factors to
The British Heart Foundation recommends the following five steps:
Ask your doctor: If your doctor asks you to measure your blood pressure at home or to wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor in order to diagnose hypertension, they will provide a monitor that you can borrow for a set period of time.
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Buy a monitor with an upper cuff: If you are buying a home blood pressure monitor, choose one that measures your blood pressure at your upper arm, not your wrist or finger. The cheapest ones start from £10 and are available in most local pharmacies and larger supermarkets.
Make sure the cuff is the right size for your arm: Make sure you have the right cuff size for your arm. It should wrap snugly around your upper arm, with just enough space to slide two fingertips underneath. Most home blood pressure monitors will come with a medium-sized cuff. If your upper arm is particularly larger or smaller than average, you may need to buy a different sized cuff separately.
Make sure it’s UK approved: If you are buying a blood pressure monitor, make sure it is approved for use in the UK. To make sure your monitor is accurate, choose one that has been listed as validated for accuracy by the British and Irish Hypertension Society (BIHS). This means that the digital monitor has gone through a series of tests to make sure it gives results that you and your doctor can trust.
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According to Blood Pressure Nutrition, you could get an approximate systolic blood pressure reading without a blood pressure cuff.
To do this one would need to find their pulse along their left arm. You’re looking for a radial pulse, which is below the thumb and above the wrist.
If you can feel the pulse without difficulty, your systolic blood pressure is at least 80mmHg.
In general, a normal blood pressure is considered anything less than 120/80.
Blood pressure is a very individualised vital sign reading, which means it can be very difficult for each person.
Blood pressure readings largely depend on a person’s gender, age, weight, and any medical conditions.
There are also many useful apps available that can track your blood pressure results.
This can be helpful in identifying patterns in blood pressure.
These apps can help one to quickly and easily track their blood pressure readings.
Measuring blood pressure regularly on the same area can help most accurately to track readings and ensure they are at healthy levels.
It’s recommended to take your blood pressure twice daily – one in the morning and one in the evening.
However, do not take a measurement right after you wake up; you can get ready first, but make sure you don’t sip on a hot cuppa.
You’ll need to avoid “food, caffeine, tobacco and alcohol for 30 minutes before taking a measurement”.
Comfortably sit down for five minutes, with your legs and ankles uncrossed – and your back supported against a chair – before you take a measurement.