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Blood Pressure Monitoring at Home

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Blood Pressure Monitoring at Home

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Blood pressure is one of the vitals that needs to be monitored regularly. Read the article below to know how to do it at home.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Preetha. J

Published At November 12, 2013
Reviewed AtJuly 4, 2022

Introduction:

Monitoring your blood pressure at home on a regular basis will help diagnose hypertension early on and prevent other lifestyle conditions. It can also be used to adjust your dosage if you are taking BP (blood pressure) medications.

How to Monitor Blood Pressure at Home?

Blood pressure monitoring at home is recommended for most people who are suspected of having high blood pressure or are at high risk. The doctor would not be able to correctly say that you are hypertensive with only one reading of the blood pressure. The guidelines say that at-least three readings have to be taken at different time points in a day to confirm the diagnosis of hypertension. The readings taken while people are going about their daily lives are more accurate than those taken in a clinic. These readings would also give your doctor information about how the medication is working. The ideal method - ambulatory blood pressure monitoring - uses a portable recorder.

Researches recommend regular blood pressure monitoring for the following persons:

  • Hypertensive patients on medication.

  • Patients where frequent monitoring of BP is required and is not possible to come to the clinic many times a day.

  • Elderly people with high risk.

  • Coronary heart disease patients.

  • Diabetics.

  • Patients with kidney diseases.

  • Pregnant women.

What to Look for When Buying a Blood Pressure Monitoring Device?

These days this task is very easy as digital blood pressure monitors are available on the market. They measure your blood pressure and store the readings also with the time stamp. These devices are very user-friendly, and there is no dependency on any other person for measuring. There are 2 types of devices, and they are a wrist blood pressure monitor and an arm blood pressure monitor. It was found that arm blood pressure monitors are more reliable.

As there are many blood pressure monitoring devices available on the market, it is very important that you choose the right one for your needs.

The following aspects are to be considered when buying the device:

Validation: Validation essentially means an accurate monitor. Please check whether it is clinically validated before you buy.

Cuff Size That Fits Your Arm: Only when you have the correct cuff size, the readings will be accurate.

Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor Cuff Sizes -

Measurement (cm)

Measurement (inches)

Cuff size

18-22 cm

7.1-8.7”

Small

22-32 cm

8.8-12.8”

Medium

32-45 cm

12.8-18”

Large

What Tips Should Be Followed for Measuring Blood Pressure at Home?

The following tips can be followed prior to measuring your blood pressure at home:

  • Avoid things that can raise your blood pressure temporarily. Do not measure your blood pressure prior to or after half an hour of eating, smoking, having caffeinated drinks like coffee, or exercising. If you feel the urge to use the toilet, do that before you monitor your blood pressure.

  • Wear loose-fitting attires. Wear a t-shirt or top with short sleeves so that you can easily push them up. This gives access to you to fit the cuff around your arm.

  • Rest for some time before you take the reading. Sit down at a place quietly with your back supported and your arm resting on a hard surface, and your feet touching the floor flatly. This position should be maintained while taking the blood pressure.

  • Make sure your arm is at the same level as your heart. The arm and hand should be kept relaxed, not tensed.

  • Remain calm, relaxed, and comfortable. Anxiety or apprehension can shoot the blood pressure temporarily.

The tips to be followed while measuring your blood pressure at home:

  • At first, measure your blood pressure in both arms. There will be a slight difference in readings. Then, use the arm that had the higher reading each time.

  • Always measure the reading in the same arm. Try to use the arm that your doctor or nurse uses to monitor your blood pressure.

  • Try to take readings each day at the same time. The blood pressure varies throughout the day and with different activities, so it is good to have a schedule for measuring your blood pressure.

  • Do not round off your measurements yourself and note the exact readings as they can affect the treatment that you will be prescribed.

  • Do not bother about the minute changes. It is normal to have them.

  • Do not monitor your blood pressure frequently. Worrying or anxiety raises blood pressure within a short span of time.

  • Do not stop taking or alter your dosage of medications yourself. If you notice any change, always consult your doctor.

How Frequently Should You Measure Your Blood Pressure?

When and how frequently you should take your readings depends on your condition and your doctor’s advice. Initially, it can be essential to monitor your blood pressure at regular intervals.

  • First, check your blood pressure in the morning and evening daily for a week.

  • Take three readings at a time, one to two minutes apart, and have a record of them. Take their average, but do not consider the first reading if it is much higher than the other two.

  • You can ignore the first day’s record completely because the readings might not be accurate as you were not familiar with your monitoring device yet.

  • At the end of the week, you will have a clear picture of your blood pressure.

  • After the first week, you can record readings less frequently, like once in one or two weeks. Your doctor or nurse will advise you about this, there may be no need to check it too often.

However, there might be circumstances when you would want to measure your blood pressure more frequently. For example, when a new medicine or an altered dose of medicine is given to you, to look for the effect of the change. It is also helpful to maintain the record for four days to a week before your next appointment.

Conclusion:

Blood pressure can be easily monitored at home. But, it requires knowledge of all the critical information about the device and the method to be followed. It helps in giving a clue of the present condition at the moment and also aids in keeping the record for a period of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

Can Blood Pressure Be Screened at Home?

Yes, blood pressure can be screened at home. People with high blood pressure or higher risk can measure their blood pressure at home using a digital blood pressure machine. Monitoring blood pressure at home is one of the most convenient methods for an individual.

2.

How to Measure Blood Pressure at Home?

Blood pressure can be measured using the machine at home. It can be measured manually or by following instructions from the user manual. It can be measured by putting the cuff around the upper arm, and the blood pressure button is pressed to inflate the cuff. The reading appears on the screen of blood pressure.

3.

What Is the Best Blood Pressure Checker Used at Home?

Some patients can measure their blood pressure using the wrist of the hand, through which the pulse can be measured. Two fingers are placed along the wrist of the arm below the base of the thumb. The number of taps in pulses is measured for 10 seconds and then multiplied by 6.

4.

At What Time of the Day Blood Pressure Measured Is Higher?

Blood pressure usually has a pattern. It starts to rise a few hours before the person wakes up. It further continues to increase during the day and is highest at midday. It typically drops during the late afternoon and evening. It seems to be less during the night while sleeping.

5.

Can Finger Blood Pressure Be Accurate?

Blood pressure measured from the finger may not be accurate. So instead, it is done by keeping a finger over the wrist of the person to locate the pulse. The pulse can be felt at the wrist that correlates to the systolic blood pressure of at least 80 mmHg.

6.

Which Arm Is Considered Best to Be Measured, Left or Right?

The left arm of the right-handed person is considered best to be measured. A slight difference is seen between the left and right-hand readings. A difference of 15 or more is seen in the systolic reading between the right and the left arm.

7.

Can We Take Blood Pressure Multiple Times?

The blood pressure can be checked twice a row to ensure an accurate reading. However, the blood pressure may fluctuate after a while. Also, it is recommended not to check the blood pressure multiple times in a row.

8.

Why Is Blood Pressure Seen Higher in the Morning?

The blood pressure is usually higher in the morning when the person wakes up because of the body’s normal circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is the 24-hour cycle that affects a person's sleeping pattern. Also, in the morning, the body tends to release noradrenaline and adrenaline hormones.

9.

Which Number Is Considered Important in Blood Pressure?

The numbers in the blood pressure are essential for diagnosing and treating high blood pressure. The top or bottom number is systolic pressure which represents the force produced by the heart when it pumps the blood outside the body, while diastolic blood pressure is the pressure in blood vessels when the heart remains at rest.

10.

Which Arm Has Higher Blood Pressured?

Higher blood pressures are primarily seen in the right arm and range from 10 to 20 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) or greater. A slight difference in reading occurs between the right and left arm, which is more than 10 mmHg.

11.

Why in Some Cases, The Blood Pressure Appears to Be Different?

The difference in blood pressure can appear due to stress, physical activity, and sleep. The problem happens when the blood pressure changes drastically after every healthcare visit and is considered an area of concern for the patient.

12.

What Levels of Blood Pressure Responsible for the Cause of Stroke?

Blood pressure measuring 180/120 millimeters of mercury or greater can damage the blood vessels supplying blood to the brain, leading to a heart attack. Heart attack is the second most common risk factor for stroke and one of the significant causes of death.

13.

Can High Blood Pressure Make the Person Tired?

High blood pressure tends to make the person tired. Tiredness is mostly the side-effect of having high blood pressure. If untreated, it can lead to further complications. Fatigue can be a symptom of kidney or heart damage.

14.

What Are Five Symptoms That Occur in High Blood Pressure?

The symptoms of blood pressure ranges can be mild, moderate, or severe depending on systolic and diastolic pressure. The various signs of high blood pressure are mentioned below.
- Blurry or double vision.
- Lightness.
- Faintness.
- Headache.
- Shortness of breath.
- Heart palpitations.
Dr. Kumar Reddy. C
Dr. Kumar Reddy. C

General Practitioner

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upper arm blood pressure monitor cuff sizesdiabetes
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