Monitoring blood pressure at home is important

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and expressed as two numbers, such as 120/80 mmHg. The first number is the systolic pressure, which is the pressure when your heart beats. The second number is the diastolic pressure, which is the pressure when your heart rests between beats.

Home monitoring of blood pressure can help you and your doctor keep track of your blood pressure levels and manage your treatment. Home monitoring can also help you detect any changes in your blood pressure that may indicate a problem, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or hypotension (low blood pressure).

Home monitoring of blood pressure involves using a device called a sphygmomanometer, which consists of a cuff that wraps around your upper arm and a gauge that shows your blood pressure readings. You can buy a sphygmomanometer at a pharmacy or online, but make sure it is validated and accurate. You can also ask your doctor to recommend one for you.

To monitor your blood pressure at home, follow these steps:

  • Sit in a comfortable chair with your back supported and your feet flat on the floor. Rest for at least five minutes before taking a measurement.
  • Wrap the cuff around your upper arm, about one inch above the bend of your elbow. Make sure the cuff is not too tight or too loose. The bottom edge of the cuff should be level with your heart.
  • Turn on the device and press the start button. The cuff will inflate and then deflate automatically. Do not talk or move while the device is measuring your blood pressure.
  • Note down the reading that appears on the gauge. It will show both your systolic and diastolic pressures. You can also record the date and time of the measurement, as well as any factors that may affect your blood pressure, such as stress, exercise, medication, or food.
  • Repeat the measurement after one or two minutes. If the readings are different by more than 5 mmHg, take a third measurement and use the average of the three readings as your final result.
  • Compare your readings with the normal ranges for blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg, elevated blood pressure is 120-129/80 mmHg, stage 1 hypertension is 130-139/80-89 mmHg, stage 2 hypertension is 140/90 mmHg or higher, and hypertensive crisis is 180/120 mmHg or higher. If your readings are consistently high or low, consult your doctor for advice.
  • Monitor your blood pressure regularly, at least once a week or as often as your doctor recommends. Keep a record of your readings and bring it to your doctor appointments.

Home monitoring of blood pressure can help you take control of your health and prevent complications from high or low blood pressure. However, home monitoring is not a substitute for regular check-ups with your doctor. Always follow your doctor's instructions on how to measure, record, and interpret your blood pressure readings.

 

Disclaimer:

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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