How to Measure Blood Pressure
Since hypertension does not have any symptoms in the beginning, it is important to measure your blood pressure. Otherwise you could walk around suffering from hypertension for years without knowing about it.
Learning how to measure blood pressure is easy. All you need is a digital blood pressure monitor. It can be difficult to find the best blood pressure monitor, nowadays you have a lot of monitors to choose from. Three different types of blood pressure monitors are very common, they measure the blood pressure at different locations.
The cheapest type measures the blood pressure at your finger. You should never buy this type of blood pressure monitor. The results are from reliable. A wrist monitor is better, and as long as you remember to keep the monitor at the same height as your heart, the results are generally accurate. But it is better to use an upper-arm monitor, it is the most accurate type of blood pressure monitor. They are a little bit more awkward to use than finger and wrist monitors but it is worth the extra hassle. Although upper-arm monitors are a little bit more expensive than the other types of monitors, they are the recommended type of blood pressure monitor.
Note that it is important that you use the right cuff size. The cuff supplied with most upper-arm monitors fits most people. But if your upper arm is very small or very large, you may need to buy a cuff. The medium sized cuff that most monitors come with is meant for upper arms between 8.8 and 12.8 inches (22-32 cm). A small cuff is for upper arms between 7.1 and 8.7 inches (18-22 cm) and the large size for 12.8 to 18 inches (32-45 cm).
You don’t need any special skills to measure your blood pressure yourself. As mentioned earlier, you need to make sure that the cuff is wrapped around your arm at the same level as your heart. Your arm should be relaxed. Sitting at a desk or table makes the process easier. You may want to support your arm with a small cushion. Always use the same arm for your blood pressure readings. Make sure to relax a few minutes before measuring your blood pressure.
Since you should be checking your blood pressure regularly, you need to use the same procedure every time. You should measure your blood pressure at the same time each day. At least in the beginning, you should take three readings, each about two minutes apart. Often the first reading will be much higher than the others. Once the difference between the readings is small, you can decrease the number of readings.
Although it is easier said than done, don’t get worried about a single high reading. Your blood pressure goes up and down all the time. The most difficult part of learning how to measure blood pressure yourself is to make sure that you are in the same mode every time you check your blood pressure.