How to Take Blood Pressure at Home
If planning on taking your blood pressure at home, it is important to first get your physician to demonstrate step by step how to take blood pressure correctly. Similarly, blood pressure measurements taken in a medical environment need also be performed in line with strict guidelines so as to prevent misdiagnosis. Seemingly insignificant factors can often have a considerable effect on blood pressure readings.
Aspects such as physical exertion and anxiety can cause blood pressure levels to rise substantially. It is therefore essential to ensure that you are completely relaxed and calm prior to having your blood pressure taken. It is a good idea to sit quietly for a couple of minutes prior to having your blood pressure measured, perhaps reading a book or watching television.
In the event that you experience nervousness or emotional stress upon entering your physician's office for a blood pressure test, you may be suffering from a condition known as ‘white coat hypertension.' This type of hypertension occurs when blood pressure readings are above average when measured in a medical setting, but return to normal as soon as blood pressure is measured in a different environment. Persons suffering from ‘white coat hypertension' are advised to either wear a portable blood pressure monitor so as to map their blood pressure over time, or alternatively invest in a home blood pressure monitor.
Certain factors may have a significant influence on blood pressure readings. It is vitally important that a patients back and legs be supported while their blood pressure is being taken. Similarly, blood pressure devices should always be placed under a person's clothing, never under. Finally, a patients arm should always be supported at heart level and if a sphygmomanometer is being used, the cuff should be loose enough not to constrict the arm in any way prior to being inflated. Research suggests that even the smallest errors can have a significant effect on blood pressure readings.
If taking your blood pressure at home, it is incredibly important that you be 100% familiar with the blood pressure monitor that you are using. In the event that you are uncertain about anything, it may be a good idea to ask your pharmacist or doctor to go through the process of how to check blood pressure with you step by step. It is also essential that the monitor you use be properly calibrated. Even the slightest error in calibration can result in an incorrect reading which may affect the type of treatment that you are prescribed in future.