Reasons For Taking Your Own Blood Pressure:
- Prevent erroneous diagnosis: 25% of elevated readings are false, when taken by someone other than yourself. You could be labeled as hypertensive and placed under treatment unnecessarily. This potential error is eliminated when you take your own blood pressure.
- Prevent over-treatment: By the same token your readings (by someone else) could cause you to get more treatment than you need. Self-monitoring eliminates this problem.
- Provide the numerous readings required. Blood pressure is a continuously dynamic entity, varying up and down as result of current demands for circulation. How can 1 or 2 readings over 3 to 6 months be representative of your average blood pressure? How else can you get this many readings?
- Monitor your response to any measures you institute to lower your blood pressure. You can’t be running into the doctor’s office this often.
- Get readings under many different circumstances. The doctor’s office is only one.
- Become confident when you know what your pressure averages. Learn how to take blood pressure and eliminate nagging concern or worry.
- Convenient Take your blood pressure whenever and wherever you like.
- Costs very little Free, actually, once you buy your apparatus.
- Save money Avoiding one unnecessary office visit buys your monitor. Avoiding one unnecessary medication saves roughly one thousand dollars a year.
- Read pressures on relatives, friends, elderly parents, etc. You could really do some good here because millions of hypertensive people are not under treatment. Don't forget about the falsely elevated readings mentioned above.
The first four reasons are each compelling enough in their own right.
How To Take Blood Pressure
(These first two paragraphs apply to both methods:)
Sit at a table or desk with both feet flat on floor and appropriate arm bared to shoulder. If your bladder is anywhere near full, empty it. Arm rests on the table or desk.
Sit quietly for several minutes. Position the cuff around the upper arm so that the edges are parallel and the cuff is mildly snug but still admits a finger under it. The lower edge should be one inch above the bend of your elbow, if physically possible. Position the marker (or the hose) over the brachial artery just to the inside of the midline of the elbow crease.
Auscultatory method: (Using the stethoscope to listen)
The cuff is on the right upper arm. Place the stethoscope in your ears and with the left hand place the other end over the brachial artery at the elbow bend. Holding the inflation bulb in your right hand inflate the cuff briskly to about 30 mm above the expected systolic pressure. Stop and relax your right arm. You'll notice the pressure drops 10 to 20 mm. Now open the release valve so that the pressure falls about 10 mm for every 3 bumps of sound or heartbeats or about 3 mm per beat.
Note the pressure at which you first hear a continual series of bumps as this is the systolic pressure. Continue allowing the pressure to fall and note the pressure at which the bumps disappear, this is the diastolic pressure. Write them down stat lest you forget. They are written for example as 120 over 80. See pages BP Log and BP Chart on navigation bars at left.
Do this over and over perhaps 10 or 12 times just to gain familiarity with the operation of the apparatus and the sounds of the blood (called Korotkoff Sounds). Come back another day and do it again and when you are familiar enough then do it seriously to obtain a good reading. Don’t be surprised after the second or third reading (at one sitting) that the pressure goes goofy. I learned never to take a reading more frequently than this.
Alternative method: (Using a digital monitor)
Follow the first two paragraphs above.
Place the cuff on your arm, usually the left.
Relax your arm and do not move it.
Press the start button. ----Finished!
Doctor's Practical Guide:
You have undoubtedly noticed how much easier it is to use the digital monitor. This is the most suitable method for the non-professional.
The modern devices have overcome most of their disadvantages so I am now recommending several made by A and D Lifesource, the company that pioneered the digital method.