Are you correctly monitoring your blood pressure at home?

February 2, 2017

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 American adults (about 70 million people) have high blood pressure. About half have uncontrolled high blood pressure, which increases your risk for a number of serious health problems, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Worldwide, high blood pressure is thought to cause nearly 13 percent of all deaths, or about 7.5 million deaths annually. Your doctor may advise you to take regular blood pressure and heart rate (pulse) readings at home.

The American Heart Association recommends home monitoring for all people with high blood pressure to help determine whether treatments are working. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/SymptomsDiagnosisMonitoringofHighBloodPressure/Home-Blood-Pressure-Monitoring
Do You Have High Blood Pressure?

A blood pressure reading gives you two numbers. The upper or first number is your systolic blood pressure reading. The lower or second number is your diastolic pressure. For example, a blood pressure reading of 120 over 80 (120/80) means you have a systolic arterial pressure of 120 and a diastolic arterial pressure of 80.

Your systolic pressure is the highest pressure in your arteries. It occurs when your ventricles contract at the beginning of your cardiac cycle. Diastolic pressure refers to the lowest arterial pressure, and occurs during the resting phase of your cardiac cycle. Ideally, your blood pressure should be about 120/80 without medication.

If you’re over the age of 60, your systolic pressure is the most important cardiovascular risk factor.

Factors That Can Give You A False Reading:

Incorrect blood pressure cuff size: If you’re overweight, taking your reading with a size “average” blood pressure cuff can lead to a falsely elevated blood pressure reading, so make sure your doctor or health care professional is using the right size cuff for your arm.

  • Incorrect arm position: If your blood pressure is taken while your arm is parallel to your body, your reading can be up to 10 percent higher than it really is. Blood pressure readings should always be taken with your arm at a right angle to your body.
  • Nervousness: “White coat hypertension” is a term used for when a high blood pressure reading is caused by the stress or fear associated with a doctor or hospital visit. This can be a transient yet serious concern. If this applies to you, stress reduction is key.

To decrease your risk of being falsely diagnosed with hypertension in this situation, take a moment to calm down (be sure to arrive for your appointment ahead of time so you can unwind), then breathe deeply and relax when you’re getting your blood pressure taken.

Correct Blood Pressure Technique: 

  • Use the right sized cuff on a bare arm
  • Place arm at heart level with palm of hand upright
  • Have back supported
  • Have legs Uncrossed with feet flat on the floor
  • Avoid talking while blood pressure is being taken
  • Record exact numbers /Keep a journal

If you or a loved one are in need of assistance with activities of daily living or help in monitoring other health concerns, CNAs and HHAs are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for all ages and levels of care. Granny NANNIES believes in treating clients with the highest level of respect and dignity and maintains the commitment to excellence that it was founded upon in 1990. For quality, trustworthy, reliable and affordable care, Granny NANNIES is there.

Call 800-316-2669 for more information about hiring a professional care provider or utilizing other home health care services. http://www.grannynannies.com