Geetika, a friend of mine, was diagnosed with hypertension at the age 30. She had to keep a check on her blood pressure for a few consecutive days. Since visiting the doctor daily for a check up was not possible, she made a wise choice of getting a blood pressure monitor for herself. She gets her daily blood pressure readings and informs her doctor promptly in case it shoots up.
Hypertension is a common condition. Many people find it convenient to get the blood pressure readings at home. They feel that it helps them to avoid major complications.
Here are a few tips on how to take your blood pressure daily:
-Rest for 5-10 minutes before taking the reading. Take backrest and keep your spine straight.
-Keep your legs flat on the floor. Avoid crossing them.
-Put your arm on a flat support (like a table) and keep it at the same level as your heart.
-Put the middle of the arm cuff right above the eye of your elbow. Wrap the cuff and make sure its neither too loose nor too tight.
-Turn the monitor on and follow the instructions.
-Note down your blood pressure reading, date, time and the arm that you used to take the reading.
-Take 2-3 readings at a gap of one minute apart and record all the readings.
-Take your blood pressure reading twice a day. Take it at the same time in the morning and evening.
-Keep a manual log of your blood pressure readings.
-Share your readings with your doctor and seek immediate medical help if the readings are too high.
How to choose a good blood pressure monitor is the next question you may ask. It is an easy task to find one if you take care of certain specifications before buying a blood pressure monitor.
Here is the list of questions you should ask before going for a blood pressure monitor:
- Does the monitor suit my needs?
The blood pressure monitor should be suitable for your specific needs. There are different types of monitors specially devised for old people, kids and pregnant women. So, make sure you choose a customized blood pressure monitor accordingly.
- Is the monitor well authenticated?
The blood pressure monitor should be tested, authenticated and approved. It will also come with a guarantee period.
- Does the monitor give accurate readings?
Getting reliable and precise readings is crucial for a good blood pressure monitor.
-A good quality monitor will have accuracy and will be easy to use. An automatic digital blood pressure monitor is a user friendly one. Monitors with manual cuffs are also good, but they require practice before use.
-Another way to check the accuracy of the monitor is to compare its blood pressure readings with readings of your doctor’s blood pressure monitor. The more it coincides with the doctor’s measurement of your blood pressure; the better is its accuracy level.
- What is the right type of cuff for me?
There are different types of cuffs with blood pressure monitors. There is a finger cuff, a wrist cuff and an arm cuff that helps measure the blood pressure readings.
Finger cuffs and wrist cuffs tend to give imprecise readings if the body position is not correct while measuring the blood pressure. The best option is to go for upper arm cuff for getting exact readings.
- How do I know the right size of arm cuff?
It is vital to opt for the right size of arm cuff to get correct blood pressure readings.
-If the cuff size is small, the readings will be higher than the actual reading. If the cuff size if bigger, the readings will be lower than the actual reading.
So, it is imperative to get the optimum sized arm cuff for yourself. There are generally three sizes for arm cuffs- small, large and standard.
-The inflatable part of the cuff should cover eighty percent of your bicep circumference.
-The arm cuff should be wide enough to cover two thirds of the length between your elbow and your shoulder.
-To know the right size of your arm cuff, use a cloth measuring tape around the circumference of your bicep area. The standard cuff sizes are as follows:
For small cuff: 7- 9 inches
For standard cuff: 9-13 inches
For large cuff: 13-17 inches
For extra large cuff: more than 17 inches (thigh cuff)
- Does the monitor log my readings?
If your blood pressure monitor logs your readings, it becomes easier for you to share them with your doctor on follow-ups.
-Most digital monitors keep a log of blood pressure readings up to a specific number in their memory. Some hi-tech monitors even store logs for more than one person too.
-A few blood pressure monitors can connect to a computer, laptop or a smart phone via Bluetooth. It makes it very easy to store and share your logs with your doctor. If you can find such a model, it will be very beneficial and convenient for you.
Before you buy a blood pressure monitor, do consult your doctor. He will be able to guide you better or even recommend one which he uses in his clinic. Get a good blood pressure monitor to improve your awareness and health!