Depending on your blood pressure, your doctor may suggest that you begin to monitor your blood pressure from home. While there are specific reasons as to why you may benefit from at-home blood pressure readings, the American Heart Association recommends at-home monitoring as a general rule of thumb for anyone with high blood pressure. While at-home monitoring does not replace regular visits to your doctor, it can help inform your healthcare professional on the effectiveness of your prescribed medicine or treatment plan. To help you figure out how to monitor your blood pressure from home, we’re sharing some tips to help you achieve your most accurate reading.
Stay calm and still
In the past, we have discussed some of the factors that can contribute to sudden spikes in blood pressure. Caffeine, exercise, and smoking all have the potential to cause temporary but dramatic spikes in your blood pressure, so it’s important to avoid those substances and activities prior to taking your blood pressure from home. Before you sit down to take your blood pressure reading, make sure you feel calm and relaxed. Empty your bladder, and then take a seat and take five to ten minutes to rest and unwind. Staying still and relaxed while monitoring your blood pressure at home is likely to yield a more accurate result.
Sit in the proper position
After you’ve settled in and taken some time to relax, it’s important that you ensure you’re sitting in the proper position prior to taking your blood pressure reading. The correct form includes sitting up straight on a firm, supported chair with your arm resting flat on a table beside you. Your feet should remain flat on the floor and the cuff of your monitor should be around your upper arm. If you’re unsure what the proper positioning is for at-home blood pressure readings, have your doctor show it to you.
Consistency is key when it comes to monitoring your blood pressure at home. This includes taking a blood pressure reading at the same time each day. Typically, your doctor will ask you to take one reading in the morning before eating or taking any medicine, and then again in the evening. Blood pressure naturally rises and falls throughout the day, so by taking your reading at the same time each day you can rule out any changes that may be due to the difference in the time of day.
Take more than one reading
When you sit down to take your reading, be sure to take two or three readings a minute apart from each other, and record the results. Taking multiple readings helps to ensure that the readings are accurate.
Be sure to place the monitor directly on the skin
Clothing and other material may interfere with the monitor, leading to inaccurate results. In order to get the most accurate reading, do not take the measurement over clothes.
Make an Appointment
It is important to have an understanding of what a normal blood pressure reading is. For questions on blood pressure readings or at-home blood pressure monitoring, reaching out to Durham Nephrology Associates to schedule an appointment, While a single high reading is not alarming, more than a few unusually high readings in a row is an indication that you should call your doctor. Our team is dedicated to providing quality care to patients in Durham and Oxford with kidney disease and high blood pressure. To contact us, request an appointment, or call us directly at (919) 447-3005.