Get my tips on how to properly check your blood pressure at home.
Thank you to Omron Healthcare for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.
Today I’m sharing the latest installment in the blog series I’ve been writing about the importance of taking control of your health. Over the past several weeks I’ve written about the importance of monitoring your blood pressure and also about controlling and even lowering your blood pressure through diet and other lifestyle changes. Today’s post is all about how to take an accurate blood pressure reading.
So why is it so important to monitor your blood pressure? Here are a couple of statistics: heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US in adult men and women. Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the US. What is the leading risk factor for both of these conditions? You guessed it… hypertension (high blood pressure). Furthermore, because of recent changes in the scientific guidelines for blood pressure by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, more than 103 million Americans are now classified as hypertensive.
I’ve teamed up with Omron Healthcare to take the Going for Zero Pledge. It’s a national campaign to help raise awareness about the importance of knowing your blood pressure. Their goal is zero heart attacks and strokes, which are largely preventable conditions. I’ve been monitoring my blood pressure twice a week with my Omron EVOLV wireless blood pressure monitor. It’s light, portable and easy to use and lets me store my blood pressure readings in an app on my smartphone. When choosing a home blood pressure monitor, the American Heart Association recommends an automatic, cuff-style upper arm monitor.
Many people get falsely high blood pressure readings when they’re at the doctor’s office. This phenomenon is often referred to as white coat hypertension. We see this all the time in the ER! Because of pain, anxiety, stress, etc. many of our patients have elevated blood pressure readings when they first get triaged. But often times, when we repeat a reading later when patients are more comfortable and relaxed, it comes down on its own. Blood pressure is not a static thing. It changes constantly depending on things like your activity level and the time of day, so fluctuations are expected. That’s why the best, most accurate way to monitor your blood pressure is to take readings regularly, at home, in a relaxed setting when you’re at rest for at least 15 minutes. Having more data points will provide you with a more accurate picture of your overall heart health.
With the Omron Connect app, you can easily sync your blood pressure readings from your Omron device to the app with a click of a button. It also charts the data for you so you can track it over time and view the trends in your numbers. Then you can take the information to your doctor and it will help them create a more effective treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Here are Some Tips For Taking an Accurate Blood Pressure Reading at Home:
- Rest for 5 minutes before taking a blood pressure measurement
- Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol, smoking or exercising within 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure
- Sit quietly in a chair with your back straight and supported. Your feet should be flat on the floor- do not cross them.
- Your arm should be at heart level, supported on a flat surface (such as a table)
- Make sure the cuff fits properly. A cuff that’s too small or too large will give a falsely high or low blood pressure reading.
- Don’t take the measurement over clothes
- Measure at the same time everyday
- Take multiple readings
If you get an elevated reading, measure it two additional times, waiting a few minutes between measurements. Want to see this all in action? Click on the video below to watch me taking my blood pressure (my daughter Sienna even makes a surprise appearance)!