Hypertension- or high blood pressure- is a condition that affects almost half of adults in the United States. As a result, more people are buying digital blood pressure readers to monitor their blood pressure on a regular basis. However, while these readers enable individuals to take a more active role in managing their health, if the readings are not taken correctly, errors can result. Here are some tips to make sure you make the most of your home blood pressure measurements.
Tip #1: Buy the Right Device!
With a simple Internet search, hundreds of thousands of options appear for blood pressure readers. Most people who are taking their own readings at home prefer to have a digital reader (which eliminates the need for a stethoscope and manual pressure monitor), but not all devices will give an accurate reading. Check out this link for the most valid blood pressure devices: https://www.validatebp.org/.
Tip #2: Choose the Correct Size Cuff for Your Arm
The cuff is the part of the device that sits tightly on your upper arm. If the cuff is too big or too small for your arm, the blood pressure reading can be inaccurate. Before you buy, measure the circumference of your arm and choose the corresponding cuff size to ensure your readings are accurate!
Tip #3: Prepare Adequately
Most physicians recommend resting in a seated position for about 5 minutes prior to taking your blood pressure. This ensures that your heart rate is not elevated and your reading will be as accurate as possible. Correct positioning includes all parts of your body: sitting with your legs uncrossed with your feet flat on the floor, your back and arm supported, with your arm at heart-level (about mid chest).
Tip #4: Take Two
For the most accurate representation of your blood pressure, you should take two readings within one minute of each other, twice per day. That's 4 readings every day!
If you are sharing your information with your healthcare provider, be sure to keep a log of your readings.
Tip #5: Don't Rely on Your Smartwatch
While new technology wearables are great for providing us with a real-time look at our heart rate, sleep, steps, etc., they should not be relied upon for an accurate blood pressure reading (yet). Refer to the link in tip #1 for the most accurate blood pressure devices.
Tip #6: Too High or Too Low?
If you are taking your blood pressure on a regular basis to manage hypertension (or hypotension), be sure to communicate with your healthcare provider. If your readings are abnormal based on your prior history, it is crucial to know when to go to the emergency room, call your physician, or simply keep monitoring throughout the day.
Click here for more information on blood pressure readings at home.
Don't forget- exercise can have an impact on your blood pressure and is recommend for those with hypertension. If you have questions about your current status please email or call us today!