Your blood pressure is one of the most important and easily obtainable metrics that can help you gain insight into your overall physical health. There are many reasons why it is a good idea to measure your blood pressure at home. For example, studies have found that as many as three people suffer from “white coat syndrome”. People who suffer from this syndrome will be nervous when having their blood pressure taken by a doctor, leading to a higher reading. In addition, getting an accurate blood pressure reading at home allows you to have a clear idea of your health and your risk of contracting certain diseases, like heart disease or a stroke.
Buying the Right Monitor
When you are looking to measure your blood pressure at home, to get a reliable reading, you should purchase a medical-grade blood pressure monitors. Many people assume that a smartwatch or fitness tracker will be able to provide them with an accurate response, but these devices are very prone to error.
Before Measuring Your Blood Pressure
To get an accurate blood pressure reading, you will need to purchase a reliable monitor and properly prepare for the reading. Ways that you should prepare for your blood pressure reading include:
- Avoid activities that can increase your blood pressure
It is recommended that you avoid eating, smoking, exercising, or drinking caffeinated drinks for at least half an hour before getting your blood pressure read, as these actives can temporarily raise your blood pressure.
- Empty your bladder
You should empty your bladder before the reading to ensure no interruption might cause a false reading.
- Wear loose clothing
Short sleeves or loose clothing is best to wear for a blood pressure reading as this can make your arm easily accessible.
- Take five minutes to relax
Before getting your blood pressure read, you should take five minutes to relax and get comfortable. If you have been rushing around or feel stressed or anxious, this can raise your blood pressure temporarily, so take a few moments to relax.
- Rest your arm on the table
You should rest your arm on the table to support it at the same level as your heart. You should try to keep your arm as relaxed as possible.
Taking Your Reading
When you are taking your reading, it is recommended that you follow your blood pressure monitor instructions. You should make sure to keep the cuff about 2 cm above your elbow, so it is in the best place to detect the artery in your arm. You should make sure to sit quietly and avoid talking, laughing, or eating during your reading. To get a reliable reading, it is also recommended that you avoid crossing your legs, as this can artificially inflate your reading.
You should take about two or three different readings, with a space of two minutes between each. If your first reading is much higher than the following two, then you can discard this reading and take another. Once you have two or three reliable readings, you can then take an average of these. It is a good idea to keep some records of your readings to prove helpful in the future.