Monitoring Your Blood Pressure
Why is knowing your blood pressure numbers important?
High blood pressure usually has no signs or symptoms which is why many people do not know that they have it. For this reason high blood pressure is sometimes called the ‘silent killer’. Controlling your blood pressure is important because the higher your blood pressure is, the higher your risk of health problems are in the future. However, if you manage and control your blood pressure, you can live a long and healthy life.
This is why it is important for you to have your blood pressure checked regularly, either by self-monitoring or by a health care provider.
How can I find out what my blood pressure is?
A blood pressure test is a quick and painless way to find out your blood pressure. There are many convenient options for you to have your blood pressure taken.
- Your health care provider can take your blood pressure. A blood pressure reading is taken with a pressure cuff at a check-up.
- You can use a machine for free or low cost readings at a number of locations. HRHCare offers free blood pressure tests at many events.
- You can take your blood pressure readings at home. This is called self-monitoring.
No matter how you take readings of your blood pressure, it’s important to always talk with your health care provider about what those numbers mean. This way you can learn about what works and what actions might need to be taken in order to improve your blood pressure and your health.
You can learn more about how a blood pressure reading is taken from this video.
Learn How to Monitor Your Blood Pressure
Keep a record of your blood pressure.
One blood pressure measurement is not the correct way to tell if you have hypertension. It only tells what your blood pressure is at that moment. A record of readings taken over time provides a more accurate history of your blood pressure. This can help you and your doctor ensure that your treatments to lowering your high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) are working.
Here is a chart that will help you record your blood pressure.
How to Properly Take your BP
Don’t smoke, drink caffeinated beverages or exercise within 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure.
Sit with your back straight and supported (on a dining chair, rather than a sofa). Your feet should be flat on the floor and your legs should not be crossed. Your arm should be supported on a flat surface (such as a table) with the upper arm at heart level. Make sure the middle of the cuff is placed directly above the eye of the elbow. Check your monitor’s instructions for an illustration or have your healthcare provider show you how.
Measure at the same time every day.
It’s important to take the readings at the same time each day, such as morning and evening, or as your healthcare professional recommends.
Take multiple readings and record the results.
Each time you measure, take two or three readings one minute apart and record the results using a printable or online tracker. If your monitor has built-in memory to store your readings, take it with you to your appointments. Some monitors may also allow you to upload your readings to a secure website after you register your profile.