Taking blood pressure accurately is actually quite a skillful thing to do. It is, however, essential that it is done the right way in order to determine whether you have high blood pressure. Because of this, there are a number of techniques that you can use in order to get the most accurate reading of your blood pressure. Interestingly, it has been proven that many medical technicians actually do not use the proper technique.
When to Take a Blood Pressure Reading
Whether you are reading your own blood pressure or having it done by a professional, you must realize that blood pressure will fluctuate during the day. This is why it is so important that you take multiple readings at different times during the day. There are a few timing issues that are of particular importance, and you should generally take a measurement in these cases:
• Before taking medicine for high blood pressure
• At least one hour after having smoked, exercised or consumed caffeine
• At least ten minutes after you have been in a temperature fluctuation
How to Measure Blood Pressure
The most important issue is that the right cuff if used to take your blood pressure. The cuff that is usually in the room of a doctor is of standard size, so if you are particularly small or large, a different one should be fetched. If you use your own blood pressure monitor, you also have to ascertain the cuff is of the right size.
You must also be positioned correctly so that the reading is accurate. Hence, you have to be seated comfortably, relaxing your arm of which you will take the reading. This arm should be uncovered and you must elevate your wrist so that the part where you attach the cuff is at the same level as your heart.
It is also important, as stated above, that you take multiple readings with the blood pressure measuring device. A single reading will not give you a real idea of what your blood pressure is, with various factors influencing the reading itself. Taking multiple readings during the day will tell you what your average blood pressure actually is. Hence, it is also important that both arms are used to take measurements.
The Blood Pressure Readings
When you take a blood pressure reading, you will be presented with two numbers: the systolic and a-systolic reading. If either one of these numbers is high or low, you have high or low blood pressure. The following readings are of interest, bearing in mind that the / symbol stands for “over”:
• 90/60 or less could indicate low blood pressure
• Between 90/60 and 120/80 is an ideal and completely healthy blood pressure
• Between 120/80 and 140/90 is a normal reading but slightly on the higher end. This is the point where you need to consider changing lifestyle in order to lower your blood pressure back to the regular levels
• 140/90 over more is classed as hypertension (high blood pressure) and requires medical assistance. You must change your lifestyle and are likely to be prescribed medication as well
So what does this mean?
• If the number above is 140 or more, you may have high blood pressure, regardless of what the bottom number says
• If the number below is 90 or more, the same can be true, regardless of your top number
• If the number above is below 90, your blood pressure may be low, regardless of the bottom number
• If number above is below 60, you may also have low blood pressure, regardless of the bottom number