How To Measure Blood Pressure

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It is very important to keep track of your blood pressure. Untreated and undiagnosed high blood pressure can be lead to long term health problems- that may even be fatal. There are a number of devices that can be used to measure blood pressure, although some do need a certain level of training and experience.

Automatic/Digital Blood Pressure Monitor

For the home user without any medical training or experience, an automatic/digital blood pressure monitor will probably be the easiest and most efficient method of recording your blood pressure. The automatic/digital devices can be used on either your wrist or upper arm. For simple guidance:

How do I use a digital monitor?

  1. Put the cuff around the arm or wrist (depening on the model). Turn the power on, and start the machine.
  2. The cuff will inflate by itself with a push of a button on the automatic models. After the cuff is inflated, the automatic mechanism will slowly reduce the cuff pressure.
  3. Look at the display window to see your blood pressure reading. The machine will show your systolic and diastolic blood pressures on the screen.Many digital devices have a memory to store the reading.
  4. If you want to repeat the measurement, wait 2 to 3 minutes before reinflating the cuff.

Manual/Aneroid Blood Pressure Monitor The manual/aneroid blood pressure monitors are more commonly used by health care professionals. This is because, unlike the automatic models, they do not give the results on an electronic display. The manual/aneroid model features a cuff with a inflation bulb and a dial guage. For simple guidance:

How do I use an aneroid monitor?

  1. Put the stethoscope ear pieces into your ears, with the ear pieces facing forward.
  2. Place the stethoscope disk on the inner side of the crease of your elbow.
  3. Rapidly inflate the cuff by squeezing the rubber bulb to 30 to 40 points higher than your last systolic reading. Inflate the cuff rapidly, not just a little at a time. Inflating the cuff too slowly will cause a false reading.
  4. Slightly loosen the valve and slowly let some air out of the cuff. Deflate the cuff by 2 to 3 millimeters per second. If you loosen the valve too much, you won’t be able to determine your blood pressure.
  5. As you let the air out of the cuff, you will begin to hear your heartbeat. Listen carefully for the first sound. Check the blood pressure reading by looking at the pointer on the dial. This number will be your systolic pressure.
  6. Continue to deflate the cuff. Listen to your heartbeat. You will hear your heartbeat stop at some point. The number on the dial is your diastolic pressure.
  7. Write down your blood pressure, putting the systolic pressure before the diastolic pressure (for example, 130/90).

(The above instructions are for guidance only- please consult a health care professional if you have any concerns or questions) Only a trained health care professional can diagnose high blood pressure. If you readings seem high or are causing you any concern, please contact your doctor.

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