Taking your own blood pressure may be a difficult or tedious task for some, but critical for anyone who’s been diagnosed with high blood pressure and hypertension. Monitoring your blood pressure levels each day will help you and your health care professionals track your overall health and well-being. Checking these levels will also help gauge the effectiveness of the strategies you’re undertaking, like medication, diet or exercise, to get blood pressure levels into the normal range.
No Time to Check Your Blood Pressure?
If you’re a busy person like me, taking your blood pressure on a daily basis can be a pain in the neck. After all, it’s one more thing you have to fit into the daily grind. Taking your blood pressure can often be difficult when you try to do it quickly or on the run. Getting several “errors” in a row may be frustrating or may make you want to give it up altogether. Skewed data from taking your blood pressure at the wrong time or after you’ve eaten or taken medication hardly helps the daily cause.
Regardless of the barriers and complications you face, getting an accurate daily reading is essential to understanding what’s really going on with you and your health. Getting an accurate blood pressure reading is easy if you take a few steps to make it work.
Getting an Accurate Blood Pressure Reading
Ready to start? Check out these Top 10 Tips for Accurate Blood Pressure Reading. Sure to keep those error messages in check and help you on your way to overall cardiovascular health and well-being.
Tip 1. Don’t drink coffee before taking a blood pressure reading. Avoid drinking coffee for at least 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure.
Tip 2. Don’t smoke. If you do, don’t smoke for at least 30 minutes before taking a blood pressure reading.
Tip 3. Relax and take a deep breath. Before taking your blood pressure, sit for five minutes in a sturdy, upright chair with your feet flat on the ground. Rest your arm on a table at the level of your heart.
Tip 4. Don’t fidget or move around. If you move your arm or body during a blood pressure measurement, you may receive an error message. Instead, sit still before and during the blood pressure check.
Tip 5. Watch what you wear. Constrictive clothing can inhibit an accurate blood pressure reading. Wear short sleeves so that your arm is exposed and ready to go.
Tip 6. Relieve yourself in advance of checking your blood pressure. Go to the bathroom prior to the blood pressure check. Experts report that a full bladder can change your blood pressure reading.
Tip 7. Get several blood pressure readings. Get at least two readings taken at least two minutes apart. Record the results.
Tip 8. Average your blood pressure results as needed. If you get at least two readings, average the results for a better idea of your blood pressure level.
Tip 9. Keep good records of your blood pressure. Keep a daily log of your own blood pressure readings. Or, store your data on your blood pressure monitor system summary. Flag high and low readings for your doctor to review and discuss.
Tip 10. Buy and use a quality blood pressure monitor. Get your doctor or health care professional to recommend several models in advance of purchase. By using a quality blood pressure monitor, you’ll get a more accurate reading of your blood pressure. Brands names to consider? Check out Omron, Microlife, Lifesource and Panasonic brands. Shop Amazon for deals and discounts. Save your receipts for possible health care reimbursement.
Getting Blood Pressure Levels into the Normal Range a Global Health Priority
The World Health Organization reports that 16.7 million die from cardiovascular disease each year, accounting for 29.2% of all deaths worldwide. 50% of the deaths or disability resulting from heart disease and strokes alone could be cut by reducing risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and smoking tobacco. Monitoring your blood pressure alone will go along way in terms of promoting overall health and well-being.
American Heart Association
American Stroke Association
National Institutes of Health
Cardiovascular Health Center
Everyday Health Website
Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Control
World Health Organization