Measure blood pressure correctly

Measure blood pressure correctly

Measuring blood pressure correctly takes a lot of work. Even before you start measuring, there are a lot of unanswered questions: when is the ideal time to measure your blood pressure? Which arm should I connect the blood pressure monitor, better on the right or left? And what blood pressure values ​​are expected? We will answer your questions and provide a small guide on measuring your blood pressure correctly.

Systolic and diastolic blood pressure

For our body to be supplied with blood and thus also with oxygen and nutrients, the blood has to be distributed throughout the entire circulatory system. This function is performed by our heart, which pumps blood into the vessels with every beat. Pressure is exerted on the vessel walls and they expand. If the blood continues to flow, the vessels contract again.

A general distinction is made between systolic and diastolic blood pressure when measuring blood pressure. The systolic value is determined when the heart contracts and blood is pumped into the vessels. The diastolic value, on the other hand, is measured when the heart muscle is relaxed – i.e., in the heart’s filling phase.

 

Measuring blood pressure: Correct measurement technology is important

You don’t have to go to the doctor to measure your blood pressure; you can quickly determine the values ​​at home using a blood pressure monitor. In general, blood pressure values ​​determined regularly by the patient are more meaningful than when the doctor determines the blood pressure once in his practice. However, many people do not know how to take the measurement correctly. This can lead to errors in the measurement and, thus, to incorrect results.

How is blood pressure measured correctly?

Before measuring your blood pressure, take a break of at least three to five minutes. Sit in a chair and avoid exerting yourself, no matter how small, as doing so can raise blood pressure.

The doctor measures classically with the help of an inflatable cuff, usually attached to the upper arm. On the other hand, digital devices that measure blood pressure are often used for measurements at home. These can be attached to the bare upper arm or wrist. When measuring on the wrist, you should first feel your pulse and then attach the device to this spot.

It is essential for the measurement that the measuring point is approximately at the same height as the heart. With a measurement on the upper arm, this is usually the case automatically. If blood pressure is measured at the wrist, rest your elbow lightly on a tabletop and raise your forearm slightly. Measure the upper arm; the forearm should rest loosely on the tabletop.

 

Which arm: right or left?

You can generally measure your blood pressure on both the right and left arm. Ideally, however, the blood pressure should always be determined on the arm where it is higher. To find out, always measure the blood pressure on the right and left arm for the first measurements. If the values ​​on one arm are higher than on the other, you should always use this arm for future measurements. Higher values ​​are always decisive in assessing blood pressure.

Time: When is the best time to measure blood pressure?

Ideally, you should measure your blood pressure first thing in the morning because high blood pressure values ​​are considered particularly dangerous. Measuring in the morning is particularly important for patients taking antihypertensive medication . The measurement should always be done before taking the medication.

Since blood pressure is subject to fluctuations over the day, at least at the beginning of the measurement, it is advisable to determine the blood pressure at different times of the day. This makes it easy to determine when your blood pressure readings are at their highest.

Blood pressure: too high or too low?

When measuring blood pressure, two values ​​are always given: the systolic and the diastolic blood pressure. The systolic value is always given first, followed by the diastolic value. If one of the two values ​​is too high, blood pressure is already considered elevated in several measurements. Values ​​below 140 mmHg (systolic) and 90 mmHg (diastolic) are considered normal for adults. You should consult a doctor if you regularly determine blood pressure values ​​above these limit values.

 

Instructions – Measure blood pressure correctly in 7 steps

In our brief instructions, we have put together the most important rules for measuring blood pressure correctly:

  1. Take a three to five-minute break before taking your blood pressure.
  2. Measure the blood pressure on both arms at the beginning and later on the arm with the higher values.
  3. Measure before you take any antihypertensive medication.
  4. Ensure the measuring point is at heart level and the arm is relaxed. Ideally, place it on a tabletop.
  5. Remain calm during the measurement – coughing, laughing or speaking can falsify the results. Also, avoid crossing your legs – this can affect the results.
  6. Stay calm if the meter reads too high. Instead, measure your blood pressure regularly over the next few days to check whether the increased value is confirmed.
  7. Before using the blood pressure monitor for the first time, ask your doctor whether the cuff width of the device is suitable for your arm. If the cuff is too wide or too narrow, incorrect readings can result.

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