Monitoring your blood pressure is a great way to keep up on your everyday health and be aware of any possible health problems – especially if you have high-blood pressure or a heart condition. Accurate readings are the key to keeping track of your heart health, however, many factors can come into play that can throw off readings. Learning how to take accurate blood pressure measurements will help you get a clearer picture of your heart health.
Positioning is important. A table or chair armrest can provide good arm support and help keep the muscles in the cuffed arm relaxed. Position the cuffed arm at heart level before taking a measurement by resting it on a table or another sturdy surface. Also, sit with your feet flat on the floor and legs uncrossed when taking a measurement, and stay this way for approximately 3-5 minutes to be sure your heart rate is truly at rest.
Next, make sure the cuff fits snugly around the arm, but not too tight. Then, inflate the cuff to approximately 40 mmHg over the normal systolic pressure (over – or under-inflating the cuff can yield an inaccurate measurement). Also, it is important to be aware that certain medications, such as anti-depressants, sympathomimetics, and blood pressure medications, can affect measurement results.
Some other tips for making an accurate reading:
- Avoid talking for 30 seconds prior to measurement and for the entire time during the measurement.
- Avoid exercising, smoking, eating and drinking caffeinated beverages for at least 30 minutes prior to the measurement.
- Avoid taking a measurement immediately after a hot bath or shower, or in a room that is too cold.
- Avoid flexing the cuffed arm muscles during measurement.
And, as always, make sure your blood pressure unit is up to date, calibrated, and all its parts are in proper working order. For more information on how to take an accurate blood pressure measurement, browse our Health Resources section on our website. You can also view our vast selection of blood pressure units and replacement parts, or call to speak with one of our Medical Supply Professionals for more information at 1-888-687-4334.