How To Take Blood Pressure or How To Measure Blood Pressure
How to take blood pressure at home, automatically, manually and accurately
How to measure blood pressure is amongst things in life that require precision for best results. There are many factors that affect how to take blood pressure in the best possible way and the quality of the result thereof. These factors include the type of monitor used in terms of the brand and whether it's properly calibrated and approved amongst other things.
Once everything is in place, however, there are specific keys that should be followed directing how to take blood pressure successfully with the best possible results. The first thing you must do is to establish your baseline measurement. Everything that shows progress or facilitates comparison has something to be measured against.
The most important way of getting accurate blood pressure measurement is through consistency. Establishing a baseline measurement is fairly easy and is done by measuring your blood pressure at the same time, sitting in the same chair,in the same location, on the same arm and using the same cuff for a period of two weeks. Baseline measurement establishment shows how to take blood pressure accurately.
1. Take blood pressure at the same time each day
Taking your blood pressure at the same time of the day everyday ensures that other factors that might influence your readings are locked out. For example it is recommended that measurements be done twice in the morning between 6am and 9am and twice again in the evening between 6pm and 9pm. The image below illustrates the importance of measuring blood pressure within the above stated time periods.
Taking blood pressure in the morning at that time makes it easy to detect any morning high blood pressure. It is also a time period before which you have not eaten breakfast or engaged in any physical activity that might distort your readings including bathing. Evening measurements within the time recommended above addresses the influence of evening meals or generally falling night blood pressure and stays clear of day activity when blood pressure is generally high due to different pressures and stresses that might be out of your control.
2. Sit in the chair or in the same position.
Taking your blood pressure whilst seated is the best way on how to measure blood pressure at home. Rest your hand on the table with your feet flat on the floor and not crossed as shown on the image. Being seated ensures that blood flows naturally without any restrictions of the normal blood pressure.
3. Use correct cuff size.
Use of incorrect cuff size or worn out cuffs is the main cause of inaccurate blood pressure readings. Home blood pressure monitors come with manuals which shows how to measure your upper arm circumference in order to determine the correct cuff size. Some models such as the Relion blood pressure monitor maybe used with extra large cuffs for individuals whose arms require a bigger size.
The following are quick and easy steps on how to take blood pressure after following the above few keys;
Rest and relax for some 5 minutes prior to taking a measurement.
Avoid smoking, consuming caffeine mostly found in coffee, eating, bathing or taking some activity such as jogging 30 minutes before measurement. Caffeine as been shown to spike blood pressure as further discussed in this caffeine and blood pressure article.
Remove constricting clothing on your arm. Constriction of arteries by clothing will give false high blood pressure measurements
Not unless directed by your doctor, always use your left arm to do measurements.
Be still during measurement. Do not figit or talk.
when wearing a cuff ensure it wraps around the arm well snugged without being too tight. The rule is that you should be able to insert two fingers between the cuff and your arm.
Take 2-3 munite intervals between measurements to allow your artery to return to its original condition as before the just ended measurement.
Keep a blood pressure diary or log book were you record each and every reading for your doctor to help you correctly interpret and analyze the data.
How to measure blood pressure manually
Notes on how to take blood pressure manually basically follow the above extensively discussed approaches. However manual blood pressure measurement differs from automatic blood pressure measurement due to the different devices used. Automatic blood pressure equipment essentially does everything for the user from inflation to deflation of the cuff to the final result that will automatically display on the large digital screen; even accompanied by an alert beep to signal end of measurement.
On the other hand manually measuring blood pressure involves some physical action on the part of the user which is the squeezing of the rubber bulb in order to inflate the cuff in the aneroid sphygmomanometer. The user also has to be experienced in reading the aneroid blood pressure gauge needle which must stay within the zero box at all times. If the needle points outside of the zero box, inaccurate readings will be obtained.
The aneroid sphygmomanometer is very sensitive and will require to be checked annually for calibration in order to preserve accurate readings. A small bump against a solid surface may result in an immediate need for recalibration. For this general reason most users opt for digital blood pressure monitors for ease of use combined with accuracy of measurements.