Hypertension or high blood pressure pose a significant global health burden. In the present era it’s no more a disease of elderly population and has spread its feet widely across our young and productive age group.
One might be having high blood pressure, but is not aware of it, because in majority of cases it won’t cause any issues until some complication develop. Hypertension is also an important risk factor for heart disease.
Its recommended to monitor blood pressure every two to five years in otherwise healthy individuals who are 18 years old or more. Yearly monitoring should be be done for 40 and above population, or younger than 40 if they have risk factors for heart condition like family history of hypertension in close relatives, diabetes etc.
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So, to monitor blood pressure at home it becomes important that you should know the correct way. Faulty blood pressure measuring techniques are very common and can be a reason of unwanted stress and unnecessary medication.
Here is your step by step guide for correct blood pressure measuring technique:
1. Good Quality Equipment
It’s needless to say how important is to use a certified and good quality equipment. Branded or certified apparatus ensures a more accurate and reliable reading.
You are going to need a stethoscope, a proper sized cuff and a aneroid or mercury sphygmomanometer if you want to measure blood pressure manually or an automated BP apparatus. Ideally if you are not trained, it’s better to use an automated apparatus.
2. Right Sized Cuff
Cuff size can have a sizeable impact on blood pressure readings. Ideally the bladder cuff should cover 80 percent or more of the patient’s arm circumference. Using inappropriate sized cuff can lead to faulty BP reading. Cuff should be a snug fit, should not be too tight or too loose.
Position of the cuff is also very important. The lower border of the cuff should be at least a finger width up from the elbow skin fold.
3. Patient Preparation
It’s important that patient should be at rest for a minimum of 10 minutes before the BP recording is done. Patient should sit upright in a chair with back supported and arm resting on a table at the level of heart and feet placed flat on the floor, crossed legs should be avoided.
This process should be followed in both manual or automated BP recordings. Caffeine intake should be avoided for at least an hour before BP measurement.
4. Locate The Brachial Artery
Localization of brachial pulse is important in order to place the diaphragm of the stethoscope over it. This helps to appreciate the sound of pulsation in clear manner.
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5. Cuff Inflation and Deflation
Start pumping the rubber bulb gently to inflate the cuff while hearing the pulse sound with stethoscope. American Heart Association (AHA) recommends inflating cuff to at least 30 mm Hg above the point at which the sound of the pulse disappears.
Deflation should always be slow and should not exceed 2-3 mmHg per second. Rate more than this can cause an overestimated diastolic and an underestimated systolic blood pressure.
6. Mark Systolic Reading
When you start deflating at the recommended rate, the first sound you hear marks the systolic blood pressure reading. It is due to sudden rush of blood through the blood vessel when the pressure is released.
7. Mark Diastolic Reading
Continue deflating the cuff at same rate and the point where the sound of pulsation disappears marks the diastolic blood pressure. Accurate appreciation of the these sounds require constant practice.
8. Repetition Of Measurement
AHA recommends to take at least two readings (one in each arm) and both the readings should be taken with a gap of 5 minutes. An average of these two readings should be considered as final blood pressure value.
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