Lifestyle

How to measure your bp

If you have high blood pressure, a home blood pressure monitor is really necessary to help you monitor your numbers.

The simplest and easiest one to use is the automatic, cuff-style, bicep (upper-arm) monitor. Make sure the cuff fits. You can measure it around your upper arm before purchase and choose a suitable one.

To make sure you’re using it correctly, bring it to your doctor to demonstrate and even compare results with your doctor’s own device.

Here are a few tips on how you can measure your blood pressure correctly.

• Avoid caffeinated

drinks, smoking or exercise half an hour before you measure

blood pressure.

• Sit with your back straight and supported, with your feet flat on the floor. Do not cross your legs.

• Your arm should be supported on a flat surface, and the upper arm should be at heart level.

• The middle of the cuff should be placed directly above the elbow.

• Don’t move around while you’re measuring.

• Measure at the same time every day, take multiple (two or three, one minute apart) readings and note them down.

• If one reading is high, do not be concerned. Take a few more, and if it’s still high, verify with your doctor.

• If your reading is 180/110 mm Hg or higher, wait five minutes and test again. If it’s still high, consult your doctor immediately, especially if you also have chest pain, difficulty breathing, numbness/weakness, vision changes or difficulty speaking.

• Left- or right-arm blood pressure – Small differences in readings between the two are normal. The doctor will usually take blood pressure from the arm with the higher blood pressure. If there’s a big difference between the two, then it may signal a problem that needs to be checked.

• Recalibrate your home blood pressure monitor at least once every two years to ensure accurate results. You will need to send it back to the manufacturer.