Updated: Dec 5, 2022
According to the American Heart Association (AHA) and other organizations, people with high blood pressure should monitor their blood pressure at home. Checking your blood pressure at home on a regular basis helps your healthcare providers determine whether or not your treatment is effective.
When a patient has hypertension, his heart has to work harder to keep blood flowing throughout the body. This high pressure can gradually weaken the heart and damage artery walls over time, resulting in changes in blood flow. All of these circumstances can increase the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease (stroke, heart disease, and heart failure). Other parts of the body, such as the kidneys, limbs, and eyes, may also be harmed.
A prescription is not required for home blood pressure monitors, which are widely available. However, understanding how to select and use a good home blood pressure monitor is critical.
There are two types of blood pressure monitor system to choose from:
Digital Blood Pressure Monitor: Digital meters employ oscillometric measurements and electronic calculations rather than auscultation. They may use manual or automatic inflation, but both types are electronic, easy to operate without training, and can be used in noisy environments. They measure systolic and diastolic pressures by oscillometric detection, employing either deformable membranes that are measured using differential capacitance, or differential piezoresistance, and they include a microprocessor.
Manual Blood Pressure Monitor: A stethoscope is required for auscultation. Manual meters are best used by trained practitioners, and, while it is possible to obtain a basic reading through palpation alone, this yields only the systolic pressure.
Learn what’s healthy and unhealthy blood pressure ranges, recommended by American Heart Association.
Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:
Systolic blood pressure (the first number) – indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.
Diastolic blood pressure (the second number) – indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
Before you measure your blood pressure guide
Avoid anything that can temporarily raise your blood pressure. Don't take your blood pressure less than half an hour after eating, smoking, drinking caffeinated beverages like coffee, or exercising. All of these can temporarily raise your blood pressure. If you need to use the restroom, do so before taking your blood pressure.
Wear comfortable clothing. Wear a short-sleeved t-shirt or something with easily pushed-up sleeves, nothing too tight. This allows you to wrap the cuff around your arm.
Rest for five minutes before you take your reading. Sit down somewhere quiet, ideally at a desk or table. Have your back supported with your arm resting on a firm surface and your feet flat on the floor. Stay in this position while you take your blood pressure.
Ascertain that your arm is properly supported and at the same level as your heart. Position your arm so that it rests on a surface and is at the same height as your heart. Maintain a relaxed, not tense, grip on your arm and hand.
Make sure you are relaxed and comfortable. Your blood pressure will temporarily rise if you are anxious or uncomfortable.
During measurement of your blood pressure
Follow the owner's manual for your monitor. Make sure you wrap the cuff around your arm exactly as instructed.
The arm cuff should be placed just above your elbow. The artery in your arm can be felt just under the skin, so make sure the cuff is about 2 cm above your elbow.
Keep still and quiet while you take your reading. Reading can be disrupted by activities such as walking, eating, talking, and laughing. Avoid raising your blood pressure even further by crossing your legs.
Take two or three readings, each about one to two minutes apart. Don't trust a first reading that's significantly higher than subsequent ones. If you take two or three readings, you'll have enough data to calculate an average.
Keep a record of your measurements. Keep track of your data in the display's internal memory, on a computer, smartphone, or paper. Exactly as they appear on the screen, write them down.
Tips on Preventing High Blood Pressure
Preparing and consuming nutritious meals. Consuming less sodium (salt) and more potassium can aid in blood pressure management. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as those that are lower in fat, is essential. One diet that has been shown to be effective in reducing blood pressure is the DASH diet.
Maintaining a healthy weight. The risk of developing hypertension is elevated in those who are overweight or obese. One of the best ways to manage high blood pressure and decrease the likelihood of developing other health issues is to keep your weight where it should be.
Incorporating regular exercise into your routine. Maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure with regular exercise is a great way to improve your overall health. Participate in at least 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, or 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity per week. Aerobic exercise includes brisk walking, running, and anything else that gets your heart rate up and uses more oxygen.
Limiting alcohol intake. Alcohol consumption is associated with an increase in blood pressure. A possible side effect is weight gain due to the additional calories. Both men and women should limit their alcohol consumption to two drinks per day.
Managing stress. Your mental and physical well-being, as well as your blood pressure, can benefit from learning stress management techniques. Exercising, listening to music, concentrating on something peaceful, and meditating are all effective methods for reducing stress.
Avoid smoking. Cigarette smoking is associated with an increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. To put it plainly: if you don't smoke, don't start. If you smoke, your doctor can help you figure out the best way to stop.