Having a blood pressure test is a regular part of many medical appointments. One’s doctor may specifically order separate appointments for repeat BP checks to look for ongoing health conditions, like: prehypertension, low blood pressure (hypo-tension), high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease or any other conditions. One should have a blood pressure test performed at least once every week to screen for high BP as a risk factor for heart disease & stroke, beginning at age of 18. If one’s age 40 or older, or ‘one’s age is between 18 to 39 with a high risk of high BP, ask one’s doctor for a BP reading every year. One’s doctor may recommend screening at a younger age if there’re additional risk factors for developing any heart disease, like: being overweight, having a family history of high BP or any heart disease. If one has already been diagnosed with high or low BP, one should have BP tests more frequently. Even if one’s doctor doesn’t think that one’s have high or low BP as an ongoing condition, one’s blood pressure is necessary information for one’s doctor. It can provide info about one’s general health. One’s doctor may also recommend that, in addition to regular BP tests at a doctor’s office, one also perform blood pressure tests at home. There are so many automated home blood pressure monitors which are easy to use.
To measure blood pressure (at home) is very easy for some people, but actually it is not. A minor mistake can result in unpleasant results. Here are 10 steps to take the measurements accurately:
Step 1 – First of all, one should choose the correct equipment. This is what one will need:
1):- A stethoscope
2):- An appropriately sized B.P. cuff
3):- Any body pressure measurement instrument like an aneroid, or a mercury column sphygmomanometer, or any such automated device with a manual inflate mode.
Step 2 – One should get prepare. One must be assured that one is relaxed by allowing 6 to 7 minutes to relax prior to the first reading. One should sit upright with one’s upper arm positioned so it is level with one’s heart & feet flat on the floor. One must also remove excess clothing which might interfere with the BP cuff and constrict blood flow in the arm. It is very important. One must also absolutely refrain from talking and keep one”s phone aside while taking such reading.
Step 3 – One must choose the proper BP cuff size. Often measurement errors occur by not taking the time to choose the right and proper cuff size. One must wrap the cuff around the arm & use the INDEX line to find out if one’s arm circumference falls within the RANGE area or not. Otherwise, go with the appropriate smaller cuff or larger cuff.
Step 4 – One must place the BP cuff on one’s arm. Palpate or locate the brachial artery & position the BP cuff so that ARTERY marker points to such brachial artery. Rightly wrap the BP cuff snugly around the arm.
Step 5 – One must position well the stethoscope. On the same arm on which one has placed the BP cuff, locate the arm at the antecubical fossa (crease of the arm) to palpate the strongest pulse sounds & place the bell of the stethoscope over the bronchial artery at such location.
Step 6 – One must inflate the BP cuff. One must start pumping the cuff bulb as one listens to the pulse sounds. When the BP cuff has inflated much to stop blood flow one should hear no sounds via the stethoscope. The gauge must read 30 to 40 mmHg above the person’s normal blood pressure reading. If this value is unknown one can inflate cuff to 160 – 180 mmHg. (If pulse sounds are being heard right away, inflate to a higher pressure.)
Step 7 – One must deflate the BP cuff. One must start deflation. The AHA has recommended that the pressure should fall at 2 to 3 mmHg per second, anything which is faster may result in an inaccurate and errors-full measurement.
Step 8 – One listen for the Systolic Reading carefully. The very first occurence of rhythmic sounds heard as blood begins to flow vis the artery is the patient’s systolic pressure. This actually resembles a tapping noise in beginning.
Step 9 – One must also listen for the Diastolic Reading. One must continue to listen as the blood pressure cuff pressure drops & the sounds fade. Note somewhere the gauge reading when the rhythmic sounds halts. This is the diastolic reading.
Step 10 – One must at least twice for Accuracy. The AHA has recommended taking a reading with both arms & averaging the readings. To check the pressure once again for accuracy wait about 5 minutes between readings. Actually, as per researchers, blood pressure is higher in the mornings & lower in the evenings. If the blood pressure reading is masked or white coat hypertension or a concern is suspected, a twenty for hour blood pressure study may be needed to assess one’s overall blood pressure profile.