Measuring your blood pressure yourself at home provides immediate insight. This is important if you are dealing with high blood pressure or hypertension. If you are taking medication for high blood pressure or are at risk of developing high blood pressure, it is recommended that you measure your blood pressure yourself. This also applies to people whose measurements at the doctor’s office vary widely. It is possible to measure your blood pressure yourself. However, you must do this properly. When you perform the actions correctly, your blood pressure readings will be accurate. It is therefore important that you work accurately. Of course, there are also some supplies you need to use to measure your blood pressure, such as a cuff. Measuring your blood pressure is not difficult, but it will take some practice.
Using the upper arm blood pressure monitor
Measuring blood pressure yourself with an upper arm blood pressure monitor is quite simple. Follow the steps below to get a correct measurement.
- Sit at a table and take a few minutes to rest.
- Clear the upper arm and place the cuff of the blood pressure monitor up to 2 centimeters above the elbow. The cuff should be at the level of the heart.
- It is best to take the blood pressure measurement twice. Write down these measurements and the time when they took place.
- For reliable results, it is advisable to perform the blood pressure measurement twice a day.
Using the wrist blood pressure monitor
Measuring blood pressure with a wrist blood pressure monitor is more difficult than an upper arm blood pressure monitor. This is because a wrist blood pressure monitor reacts very quickly to deviations while measuring. Therefore, follow the steps carefully to get a proper measurement.
- Sit at a table and take a few minutes to rest.
- Clear the wrist of bracelets and remove any rings from the fingers. There should be as little weight on the arm as possible.
- Place the blood pressure monitor correctly on the wrist.
- Bend the arm upward to create a 45-degree angle. You hold the blood pressure monitor at the level of the heart.
- Do not move, talk or eat. Every movement is detected.
- It is best to take the blood pressure measurement twice. Write down the measurements and the time when they took place.
- For reliable results, it is recommended to measure blood pressure twice a day.
Blood pressure measurement tips
Some important tips for measuring blood pressure:
- Always read the instructions of the blood pressure monitor carefully. For example, there are blood pressure monitors that differentiate between measuring on the left or right arm.
- Make sure you do not smoke or drink coffee right before the measurement.
- During the measurement itself, do not eat, drink, talk or sit still.
- When you measure your blood pressure, you should do so in a seated position at all times.
- In addition, it is important that your arm is supported on a table.
- To measure blood pressure properly, you must be completely relaxed.
- You should stay in this position for about 5 minutes before taking the first measurement. While doing so, you should not talk or move.
- The cuff should be approximately at the level of the heart. Your upper arm should be uncovered.
- The cuff should not be too loose or too tight.
- The first time you take a measurement on both arms. Then use the arm where the highest blood pressure was measured.
These tips will help you take a good and reliable blood pressure reading.
To trust the measurement
Because blood pressure can vary greatly from time to time during the day, you should repeat the measurement of blood pressure in the morning and evening. Definitely do not do this after exercise, heavy exertion or intense emotions. In these situations, you will get an unreliable reading.
When to measure your blood pressure?
During the initial phase, you can measure blood pressure. Do this for 7 days. Then take two measurements in the morning and two in the evening. Choose regular times, before a meal and before taking medications. You should not include the measurements taken on the first day to calculate the average. If you want to calculate the average, all valid readings from each measurement without selection must be included, except for the first day. You must then have taken at least twelve measurements spread over 7 days.
In addition, you can also measure your blood pressure in the follow-up phase or the treatment phase. When your medication or treatment changes, the average of blood pressure readings over 2 weeks is used to measure the effect of the change. When your blood pressure returns to normal, it is often recommended that you take a reading yourself once a week. This may be adjusted again if you do not stick to the schedule, or if you are given other medications.
Your blood pressure can also be measured over a longer period of time. This should then be done every 3 months for 1 week.
The upper pressure and lower pressure
How do you interpret the blood pressure measurement? The blood pressure monitor gives you insight into the upper pressure and lower pressure. Normally, blood pressure has a value that is around 120/80 mmHg. When the upper pressure is above 140 mmHg, we speak of high blood pressure. For the elderly, a maximum upper pressure of 160 mmHg applies; for diabetic patients, a target value of 130 mmHg applies. Consult with the doctor about which blood pressure is too high in your case, as it can vary from person to person.
Do you notice a high lower pressure while measuring blood pressure? Causes include high cholesterol, high consumption of coffee or tea, or a passive lifestyle. Increased lower pressure may cause an increase in general blood pressure. Therefore, an elevated lower pressure should certainly not be ignored.
Buying a blood pressure monitor
Measuring blood pressure yourself starts with buying a good blood pressure monitor. You can choose between a wrist blood pressure monitor and an upper arm blood pressure monitor. Several organizations recommend the upper arm blood pressure monitor. These provide reliable results which you can easily share with your doctor.
The wrist blood pressure monitor is cheaper, but less reliable. The position of the body can influence the measurement, so the wrist blood pressure monitor displays a distorted measurement result. Only choose a wrist blood pressure monitor if you do not need it for medical reasons. In all other cases, go for an upper arm blood pressure monitor.