Measuring your blood pressure at home – should you do it and how to do it correctly?

Measuring your own is the best way to track it

Measuring your own is the best way to track it

Dear Dr. Mo: How important is regular measuring of blood pressure at home and how to do it correctly?

Dear reader: Taking measurements at home is one of the best ways to keep track of your blood pressure and know its values at different times of day. This is all very useful for your physician to see the ways your treatment is working and whether or not some adjustments need to be made.

If not on meds, you’ll be able to see how your life style influences your blood pressure values – this could also be very useful to your doctor.

There are a few things you can do to make sure your values are as correctly measured as possible. Of course, your monitor needs to be in good condition and properly gaged – there are trusted brands out there you can get so speak to your pharmacist and/or your doctor. I bought OMRON to my parents and it’s working wonderfully.

If the cuff is to large of to small for you hand, order a custom one as cuffs need to fit correctly in order to take proper measures.

Now, with the technical bit out of the way here are 5 basic and golden principles to follow whenever you are measuring your blood pressure at home:

1. Avoid eating heavy food, smoking (anything), or drinking caffeinated beverages for at least 30 minutes before taking a measure

2. Avoid talking while testing and try to remain calm; rest and relax 5 minutes before testing and breathe deeply and slowly

3. Avoid crossing legs if possible; sit comfortably with back supported in a chair and feet on the floor

4. Rest your arm on a table, desk or chair arm so that the arm is at heart level (or as close to this as you can)

5. Last but equally important as this is something all of us tend to do: avoid looking directly into the display while taking a measurement – look away and relax

And one more thing, as a closing advice – as with anything in life, don’t overdo it. Don’t keep measuring it until you drop as values vary and thinking too much about it may actually influence the values.

Speak to your doctor about the right amount of measurements to take during a week – perhaps only a few times a week will do or if you are working to adjust your treatment, than maybe twice or three times a day will be necessary.

Whenever you feel differently (dizzy, light headed, tingling sensation in your skin, buzzing in your ears etc) sit down, try to relax and take a measure.

Remember, your own control is very important in order to properly control your blood pressure.

Your in health,

Dr. Mo