How To Check Blood Pressure
It is not always necessary to take a trip to your physician’s clinic to get your blood pressure checked. With the advent of various machines and technology and its easy accessibility for the layman, you can now check your own blood pressure at the comfort of your home.
The most common equipment for measurement of blood pressure is called sphygmomanometer or the blood pressure monitor.
First of all, find a quiet place so you can hear your heartbeat. Remove any clothing from your arms and roll up your sleeves. Sit in a relaxing chair idly for 5 to 10 minutes and let your left arm rest at the level of heart. After some time, locate your pulse by lightly pressing the index finger and the middle fingers at the centre of the inside bend of your elbow.
The movement of the pulse indicates the brachial artery. If you can’t locate your pulse, use a stethoscope to hear its beat. Next, secure the cuff onto your arm and place the head of stethoscope on the artery. The lower edge of cuff must be above the bend of elbow, at least 1 inch away.
Place the stethoscope in the ears. With the pressure gauge in your hand, close the airflow valve and inflate the cuff by squeezing the bulb with the other hand. At this moment, you’ll hear your pulse through the stethoscope.
You will have to inflate the cuff till it reaches a reading more than 30mmHg of expected systolic pressure. You will not hear any sound of pulse at this point. With your eyes on the gauge, gradually open the airflow screw to release the pressure from the cuff. The first pulse beat indicates the systolic pressure which you must note immediately by noting the reading on gauge. With the continuous deflation, at one time there will be no sound. This is the moment you should note the next reading that is the diastolic pressure.
Which Arm Should Blood Pressure Be Taken On?
A lot of times, patients become surprised when their doctor checks the blood pressure twice on each arm and it raises plenty of questions among masses. It must be noted that there is a major difference between the blood pressure measurements that are recorded from each arm. These differences give rise to stroke, cardiovascular diseases and peripheral artery diseases.
In almost 20 researches conducted by British scientists, blood pressure was checked in both arms. The people who had a difference of 15 points in their readings showed signs of peripheral heart disease and specifically arteries from various body parts like legs and arms that were clogged by cholesterol. You might not have heard of the disease but according to statistics, almost 12 million Americans suffer from Peripheral Artery Disease and this amount is more than the combined stroke and heart diseases patients. This dangerous disease can be fatal, maim or make your life painful.
In another study published in The Lancet, numerous patients showed a difference of 10 to 15 points in the measurements from both arms. They presented chances of cardiovascular diseases or stroke. Therefore, experts say it is necessary for doctors to take blood pressure readings from both arms in routine checks.
But why does the blood pressure vary in each arm? It is nothing to worry about if the difference is merely of a few points because that is normal. But when the difference reaches 10 points or more, it suggests an internal body issue. In younger people it indicates that a muscle or an artery supplying blood to the arm is being compressed or there is a structural problem in an artery that is preventing smooth blood flow, whereas in older people, this difference occurs due to blockage pertaining to atherosclerosis which refers to clogging of artery. It causes heart attacks, peripheral artery disease, stroke and various cardiovascular issues.
How To Check Your Blood Pressure By Hand
If you are a blood pressure patients and suffer from hypertension, your doctor might suggest that you check your blood pressure regularly at home through a cuff or simply by hand. The hand method implies toward checking your blood pressure by noting the readings of the pulse. In both ways, it is important to know how to take the readings accurately.
The pulse rate checking is very simple and can be carried out in the comfort of your own home. The first thing you will require is a watch which has a second hand or preferably a stop watch. Then find a peaceful and quiet place so that it gives you a relaxing atmosphere where you aren’t distracted. Relax yourself before checking the pulse rate for at least 10 minutes. Do not watch television, read newspaper, talk to someone or use any type of electronic item. You need to be in a perfect relaxation state for accurate normal readings. Then place your index finger and middle fingers on the inside of the wrist of the other hand and start counting your pulses. Count the pulse beats for 30 seconds but be sure that you do not use your thumb for this purpose. Doubling the amount will give you the resting pulse. It is usually between 60 to 100 beats per minute.
When you learn to monitor your own blood pressure, it makes you feel more controlled of your health conditions and you become more confident about the treatments that you receive. It will also prove to be beneficial for the doctors and nurses to see a well organized chart that would assist them greatly during your treatment. Your chart should contain proper and accurate readings at regular intervals. It might also make you more anxious sometimes, when you take your blood pressure readings. So avoid checking the blood pressure unnecessarily.
How To Take Blood Pressure With Cuff
The technique of taking blood pressure reading is quite simple. Just ensure your bladder and stomach is empty and you are in a relaxed state and sitting in a quiet environment before you start with the procedure. Let your arm rest for a while at the level of your heart for a good 10 minutes and stay away from any types of distractions.
Slide your cuff onto your arm by threading it through the metallic loop and make sure your stethoscope head is placed over the artery (which is brachial artery). The cuff is marked with an arrow generally that would show you the direction of stethoscope head. Keep the edge of the cuff at least 1 inch away from the bend of the elbow. The cuff should not be too tight.
Place the stethoscope in your ears and make sure you can hear the sound by tilting them slightly forward.
Start the inflation of the cuff slowly by holding the pressure gauge in one hand, screwing the airflow valve clockwise and squeezing the bulb. At this point you might hear the pulse in your stethoscope. While keeping your eyes on the gauge, inflate the cuff till it reads 30mmHg more than the systolic pressure. You won’t hear any sounds at this moment.
Start releasing the pressure from the cuff by slowly opening the airflow counter clockwise. The reading on the gauge will start falling by 2 or 3 points. As soon as you hear the first pulse beat, note down the reading from the gauge. It is the systolic pressure. After continuous deflation, at one point the sound will disappear. At this point, note down the reading on the gauge as it is the diastolic pressure.