About 33% of American adults have high blood pressure, meaning staying aware of what your blood pressure numbers are is vital. Knowing the correct ways to take your blood pressure can make a significant difference in getting a correct reading and monitoring your heart health.
Correct Ways to Take Your Blood Pressure
1. Use the Same Arm Each Time
Consistency is key when it comes to the correct ways to take your blood pressure. Each arm can give you different readings and even a slight variance can throw off your true blood pressure.
Also, try to use the same arm that your doctor uses to take your blood pressure. That will help keep the readings more similar as well.
2. Measure at the Same Time Each Day
Have you ever heard of weighing yourself at the same time each day? The same rule applies to taking your blood pressure.
Just as your weight fluctuates throughout the day, your blood pressure does the same. Measuring in the morning could give you a very different number than if you measure in the afternoon.
Pick a time that you know you can regularly measure at to keep a consistent reading.
3. Use the Bathroom First
This may not be a first thought of the correct ways to take your blood pressure, but even needing to use the restroom can cause small changes in your blood pressure levels.
Be sure to use the restroom before each test to reduce the risk of potential unwanted changes in your blood pressure reading.
4. Timing Matters
When you’re going to take your blood pressure, be sure to not take it within 30 minutes of drinking alcohol or caffeine as well as smoking. These substances can temporarily cause your blood pressure to rise.
Additionally, do not take your blood pressure right after you eat a large meal. That can also cause a rise in your blood pressure.
5. Wear a Short Sleeve Shirt
It’s a simple example of the correct ways to take your blood pressure. Having a sleeve in between the cuff and your arm can decrease the accuracy of the monitor.
Wear a short sleeve shirt or a shirt that you can easily roll up so that your cuff can be directly against your arm.
6. Rest Your Arm on A Table or Cushion
When you take your blood pressure, be sure to keep where the cuff is level with your heart. Either prop your elbow on a high table or place a cushion to rest it on.
Keeping your heart at the level of where the cuff is will help to make sure the blood flow is balanced.
Some people tend to get anxious or nervous before getting their blood pressure read, which can give incorrect results. It’s called “white coat” readings, meaning that your blood pressure rises temporarily around doctors or getting examined.
Try to breathe deeply and know that it’s not a painful process. Getting your blood pressure measured is just a way to monitor your heart health and keep you healthy!