Hypertension, or high blood pressure, kills 7.6 million people per year worldwide. Left uncontrolled, it can damage your blood vessels over time, leading to a stroke or heart attack.
If you have high blood pressure, you should be checked by a doctor at least once every year, and you should make sure that you are taking any medications as directed. In addition to regular doctor visits, you can self-monitor your blood pressure at home.
Types of Blood Pressure Monitors
Traditional blood pressure cuffs require you to inflate manually and use a stethoscope to listen for your pulse to get a reading. Alternatively, you can find automatic blood pressure monitors, which take the measurement for you. Some blood pressure monitoring units measure your pulse at the wrist, while others are designed for your arm. Use the blood pressure device that suits your needs.
How to Check Your Blood Pressure at Home
The best way to check your blood pressure at home is with a reliable blood pressure monitor that’s comfortable to use. Regardless of whether you are using an automated or manual blood pressure cuff, you will need to sit in a comfortable position with your legs uncrossed and your back straight. The arm you will be using to measure should rest at heart level on a flat surface such as a table.
Using an Automated Blood Pressure Monitor: Wrap the cuff around your upper arm; this should be the same arm that is elevated and supported at heart level. Make sure that you have the arrow on the cuff pointing inside your arm towards the bend in your elbow. Read the instruction manual thoroughly so you know the proper set-up.
Next, press the start button to begin the test. The cuff will inflate and deflate by itself and render a reading.
Using a Manual Blood Pressure Monitor with Stethoscope: Using a manual blood pressure cuff and stethoscope is more complex and may take some training. If you want to take your blood pressure this way, carry the cuff with you to the doctor’s office and let them show you how to do it correctly. For most people, the best option is to use an automated device.
How to Monitor Your Blood Pressure
To monitor your blood pressure, you will need to take multiple readings over time and compare the numbers. You can also report the numbers to your doctor. Here are a few tips on monitoring your blood pressure:
- Sit correctly, as posture is essential
- Take multiple measurements and record them
- Measure at the same time each day. Blood pressure can vary during the day
- Avoid coffee and nicotine for about 30 minutes before you measure
- Know what the numbers mean. Have a blood pressure chart handy. If your systolic pressure is over 180 or your diastolic pressure is around 120, wait five minutes and test again. If the readings are still the same or higher, contact a doctor immediately. If you experience any changes in vision, pain, shortness of breath, or difficulty speaking, call 911.
Shop Simply Medical today for our selection of blood pressure cuffs and units. If you have concerns about your blood pressure, you should speak to your doctor as soon as possible. If you aren’t sure what home monitoring system is best for you, consult a healthcare professional.