Tips for measuring blood pressure at home and when to see a doctor

Tips for measuring blood pressure at home and when to see a doctor
High blood pressure is an important risk factor for various health problems.

According to the WHO, nearly 88% of Indians do not have their blood pressure under control.

High blood pressure or high blood pressure affects millions of people around the world. It is often called the “silent killer” because it can cause serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure, without any noticeable symptoms. According to recent data (WHO), at least one in four adults in India suffers from hypertension and only 12% have their blood pressure under control.

Monitoring your blood pressure regularly can help you catch any potential problems early. Here, Dr Santosh Kumar Dora, Senior Cardiologist at Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai, shares some tips for measuring blood pressure at home.

  1. It’s not about which arm but which state: There is a difference of 10 to 20 mm between the BP of the right arm and the left arm. Usually the blood pressure measurement is higher on the right arm. If the difference between the measurements of the two arms is greater than this, a doctor should be consulted.
  2. Choose the right cuff size: Choosing the right cuff size is crucial for getting accurate readings. If the cuff is too small or too large, it may affect the accuracy of the reading. You can measure your arm circumference to determine the correct cuff size. You should place the cuff on your bare skin.
  3. Measure your blood pressure correctly: It is essential to follow the correct procedure when measuring your blood pressure. Sit in a relaxed position for at least five minutes before taking the measurement. Place the cuff around your arm and make sure it is snug but not too tight. Make sure your arm is at heart level and do not speak or move during the measurement. Avoid caffeine about 30 minutes before your blood pressure measurement, as it helps to increase blood pressure and heart rate.
  4. Do several readings: Blood pressure changes throughout the day. Therefore, it is a good idea to take it at least twice. Also, based on your schedule, identify a time that works for you, every day, to get a more accurate picture of your blood pressure. For example; if you exercise a lot, you should keep a gap between your exercises. The best time to measure your BP is 30 minutes after exercise. Record readings in a diary or app to track your progress.
  5. Carefully measure the BP of the elderly: Aging patients are likely to present with orthostatic hypotension. In older people, blood pools in the lower part of the body due to poor autonomic control. This leads to low blood pressure and large variations in blood pressure reading between lying down and standing up.

Precautionary measures when recording BP at home

Dr. Dora notes that while self-monitoring is excellent practice, it should be tempered with proper medical consultation. “Those with a family history of high blood pressure or related health conditions, regular monitoring of their blood pressure is essential. If your blood pressure readings vary significantly from 120/80, over three weeks or more, it is essential to see your doctor. High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for various health problems such as heart disease and stroke,” he concludes.

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Source of the publication: The health site

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