Blood pressure is blood pressure that pushes against your artery walls. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Blood pressure rises and falls naturally throughout the day, but it can damage your heart and cause health problems if it stays above normal for a long time. This is called “high blood pressure”, in the series “Check on yourself” we learn about the correct way to measure blood pressure and the factors that may affect its correct measurement.
Why do I need to measure blood pressure?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website,CDCTaking your blood pressure is the only way to know if you have high blood pressure, as high blood pressure usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and not many people know they have it.
Factors on blood pressure reading
Many things can affect your blood pressure reading, including:
Anxiety about measuring blood pressure This is called “white coat syndrome.” As many as 1 in 3 people with a high blood pressure reading at the doctor’s office may have normal blood pressure readings outside the doctor’s office.
What you ate, drank or did before your blood pressure reading. If you smoke, drink caffeine, or exercise within 30 minutes of taking your blood pressure reading, your reading may be higher.
Sitting method: Placing one leg over the other and letting your arm hang at your side instead of lying down can cause high blood pressure.
It’s important to get an accurate blood pressure reading so that you have a clearer picture of your risk of heart disease and stroke.
A reading that says your blood pressure is lower than it actually is may give you a false sense of security about your health, and a reading that your blood pressure is higher than it actually is may lead to treatment that you don’t need.
What is the correct way to measure blood pressure?
Do not eat or drink anything 30 minutes before your blood pressure measurement.
Empty the bladder before reading.
Sit in a comfortable chair with your back supported for at least 5 minutes before reading.
Put both feet flat on the floor and keep your legs not crossed.
Make sure the inflatable cuff of the pressure gauge is snug against your arm but don’t get it too tight. The pressure gauge should rest on your bare skin, not over clothing.