Tips for checking your blood pressure at home

Thu, 06/25/2009 - 10:46am
By: The Citizen

You don’t need to wait until a doctor’s visit to keep tabs on your blood pressure. Home monitoring is important, particularly if your doctor has suggested you check your blood pressure regularly.

In order to insure your results are accurate, invest in a good quality home blood pressure monitor. These should have a correctly sized arm cuff. For those people with large upper arms, monitors do come with extended sized cuffs. For the most accurate home readings, wrist and finger monitors are generally not recommended.

There are two types of automatic digital monitors to choose from. The semi-automatic type has an inflation bulb attached. After you apply the cuff to your upper arm, you then pump the bulb attachment to tighten the cuff to approximately 30 points higher than your expected systolic number prior to taking your reading. The automatic type has no inflation bulb, and so you simply press “start” and the machine inflates the cuff to the proper tightness on it’s own. The fully automatic style is typically a bit more expensive, but involves less guesswork on your part.

Either style will pick up the pulse rate, and register systolic pressure (the force of the blood against the artery wall as your heart beats) and the diastolic pressure (the blood pressure between heartbeats). Most of the newer models will save a history of these readings in an electronic log for your reference, or you can record them in a log book to review with your doctor.

It is normal for your blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day, and certain factors in your everyday life can cause your blood pressure reading to fluctuate even more. Some of these factors are: Stress, smoking, cold or hot temperatures, exercise, caffeine, and certain medications. Avoid as many of these factors as possible around the time you will be taking your blood pressure.

Try to take your pressure at around the same time each day, and sit down and rest for a few minutes prior. It’s a good idea to empty your bladder before hand, since a full bladder can also affect your reading. Take your blood pressure while sitting up straight, legs uncrossed rest your forearm on the table next to you, and do not talk while taking a reading (yes, talking elevates your blood pressure)

A variety of clinically accurate automatic and semi automatic digital blood pressure monitors as well as traditional sphygmomanometers are available at Freedom Medical Solutions, on Georgia Highway 85 in Fayetteville. Our trained staff is available to answer your questions at (678)817-7281

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