Nowadays, compared to the past, blood pressure measurement is a simple operation that you can do on your own without the need for intervention or a doctor’s presence. And this thanks to the electronic sphygmomanometer. Moreover, a digital biomedical device is easy to use simply by reading and following the instructions. This article will give you a complete guide about the best time to take blood pressure.
Here is the best time to take blood pressure
The best times to take blood pressure are two within the day. In other words, in the morning and the evening, making close measurements. But also before taking any medications that the doctor has prescribed. And then in the evening before going to bed.
Also, blood pressure should be taken three times in a row in the morning and evening. Passing a couple of minutes each time. There are two values to note for each blood pressure measurement. Precisely the minimum and the maximum. Values corresponding to diastolic blood pressure and systolic blood pressure, respectively.
The basic recommendations for the proper best time to take blood pressure
Before carrying out the first pressure reading in the morning and the evening, the other two with an interval of 1-2 minutes. It is preferable to remain seated at least five minutes and therefore in conditions of rest. Also, when the cuff inflates and deflates, you don’t have to move and be relaxed.
Two to three times a day
It is a good rule to measure blood pressure two or three times a day. The end of the day, preferably before dinner, is the best time for the second measurement.
Beware of food, smoking, sports, and emotional stress.
Remember that food, coffee, smoking, and sports affect blood pressure, distorting excess results. But also, stress and emotional tension can alter blood pressure values. In fact, there are several rules on how to measure blood pressure in the best possible way. One of the most important is to do it at rest and in a quiet situation to avoid sudden changes due to agitation states and not to a real health problem.
The blood pressure guidelines
The scientific world periodically updates the pressure values. And the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) suggests keeping the maximum (systolic) pressure below 140 mmHg and the minimum (diastolic) below 90 mmHg.
When it is high and when it is low
It is too low ( hypotension ) when the systolic blood pressure is less than 90 mmHg. We speak of high blood pressure ( hypertension ) if on the contrary. The systolic and diastolic values approach respectively 140 and 90 mmHg.
Blood pressure in normotensive subjects must be checked annually; in hypertensive, it must be measured periodically to allow the doctor to set the most appropriate therapies, then once a month. We asked for some practical advice from Dr Michele Lombardo, Director of the Cardiology Unit of the San Giuseppe Hospital MultiMedica Group.
How many times? It depends on the case.
For diagnostic purposes, blood pressure should be measured several times over a few months before deciding whether to start medication. Its effectiveness and possibly suggest a change in the therapeutic regimen.
Best time to take blood pressure: measured?
Auscultatory method: aneroid manometers are used, which now replace the mercury ones. The doctor or nurse applies the rubber cuff to the arm, which will transmit the noises generated by the passage of blood in the artery to the ear. And the stethoscope no longer transmits any noise.
When the cuff pressure is equal to the arterial pressure, a little blood will pass into the artery producing a noise. The first noise clearly heard will correspond to the SYSTOLIC (MAXIMUM) PRESSURE. By further reducing the pressure in the cuff, the noises will initially become more intense. Then until they completely disappear: this is the DIASTOLIC PRESSURE (MINIMUM).
Self-measurement: devices are now available for semi-automatic pressure measurement with the oscillometric method. Of the many models on the market, most use a cuff similar to that of aneroid gauges and offer reliable measurements. Some devices measure the pressure on the wrist or finger of the hand. But they are less reliable and not recommended for continuous use.
Throughout the measurement:
- Try to be relaxed, sitting comfortably, in a quiet environment, with a comfortable temperature for a few minutes.
- Do not drink caffeinated drinks in the previous hour. You must not have smoked for at least 15 minutes.
- Rest your arm on a rigid surface. It does not matter which arm is used for the measurement. Have your blood pressure measured both while sitting and standing to rule out pressure drops during standing (orthostatic hypotension), especially in the elderly patient
- The size of the cuff should be adapted to the size of the arm. In children or fragile adults, it is necessary to use smaller sizes than the standard ones. While in the case of very sturdy people or obese patients, the cuff should be longer.
In the case of arrhythmias?
The presence of irregular heartbeat due to extrasystole or atrial fibrillation makes the measurement more difficult: in such cases. It is necessary to deflate the cuff very slowly to listen well to both the first beat and its complete disappearance.
In general, a systolic pressure (the “maximum”) below 130 mm Hg and a diastolic (“minimum”) below 85 mm Hg (millimetres of mercury, the unit of measurement of pressure used in medicine) is considered normal. Once the thresholds of 140 and 90 mm Hg have been exceeded.
The Pressure Values
The doctor should measure the blood pressure of his patients. Recommends Gianfranco Parati, full professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Milan-Bicocca. The Department of Medical and Rehabilitative Sciences for Cardio- Neuro-Metabolic of the S. Luca Hospital, IRCCS Italian Auxological Institute of Milan.
«This is because blood pressure values are not a“ magic number,” they vary according to the organism’s needs. It would be normal if below 140-90mm Hg, but if I make a run to catch the bus and the pressure doesn’t go up to at least 160, I miss it! In the doctor’s office, the values often rise due to the “white coat effect.” At home, the reference should be 135-85.
The Instruments for measuring pressure
There are different types of equipment for measuring pressure. The guidelines of the Italian Society of Arterial Hypertension suggest automatic or semi-automatic arm ones.
He recommends Parati: «It is important that they are validated tools. You can check the model on the DablEducational Trust website ». The measurement, the guidelines say, should be done when you are calm. At least 5 minutes of rest, half an hour after your last big meal, coffee, cigarette, or effort. Seated, with your back on a backrest and your arm resting on a surface level with your heart. During the survey, you have to be still and silent.
Best time to take blood pressure: An automation plan
«It is also necessary to avoid that it becomes a neurosis. There is no need to exaggerate with self-measurements – continues the doctor -. One way to get a good idea of your blood pressure is this: for a week, take two measurements in the morning. As soon as you wake up, and two before dinner.
Then the data of the first day are discarded, and the remaining 24 values are averaged. If you get an average greater than 135-85 mm Hg, you are in the presence of hypertension. Then, you take everything to your doctor, who will repeat the measurements. But will already have a handy tool to evaluate if and how to intervene ».
Best time to take blood pressure: Extended Monitoring
Often the doctor recommends 24-hour monitoring, “A method designed in the 60s by NASA for astronauts. But today also beneficial for those who remain on our planet”. It consists of a portable device ( Holter ). That carries out automatic measurements at regular intervals, for example, every 15 or 20 minutes.
It gives an idea of how blood pressure varies throughout the day and depending on the activities. And is useful whenever the doctor suspects a variability in blood pressure that he cannot detect in his surgery. “I remember a bus driver who had 135-85 at the doctors. But then, when he was driving in traffic, his blood pressure went up to 210-110mm Hg. Similarly, pressure rises a lot in people who snore when they have sleep apnea: oxygen drops in the blood. And the sympathetic nervous system intervenes with an increase in pressure, as happens, for example, at high altitudes.”
Why is it necessary to measure blood pressure?
Measuring blood pressure allows you to find out information important for taking care of your life and health. With the constant measurement of blood pressure, we receive information about our physical condition. High blood pressure can cause many diseases, such as diseases of the cardiovascular system (cerebral hemorrhage (stroke). Subarachnoid hemorrhage, etc.), heart disease (coronary diseases, angina pectoris, hypertrophy, etc.), arteriosclerosis (high blood pressure accelerates the aging process of blood vessels and is the main cause of arteriosclerosis).
What do you need to know when choosing a blood pressure monitor for home use?
There are two types of CITIZEN blood pressure meters. One measures the pressure at the shoulder, the other at the wrist. People who have had such diseases are high in taking blood pressure, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, and distal blood disorders. And palpitations should first consult with their doctor to choose the appropriate blood pressure meter model. People who do not suffer from any of the listed diseases can use any CITIZEN blood pressure monitor.
What do you need to know before taking blood pressure measurements?
Measurement of blood pressure should take place at the same time of day every day. The best time to do this is in the morning when you have just woken up and your body and mind are in a calm and relaxed state. Take 5-6 deep breaths, relax, and start measuring blood pressure.
Why does my blood pressure fluctuate with every measurement?
Blood pressure changes with each contraction of the heart, along with the activity of the heart. Time of day, season, temperature, stress, emotional state, and frequency of measurements are factors. That influence fluctuations in the best time to take blood pressure. Blood pressure can change dramatically after urinating, defecating, exercising, eating, drinking coffee, smoking, taking a bath, drinking alcohol, and so on; anxiety and lack of sleep can also influence factors.
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Blood vessels may not have time to return to their original shape if measured too often. Observe 15-minute intervals between measurements. It is important to make comparisons between measurements made under similar conditions. And under the same conditions to establish fluctuations.
What rules must be followed to measure blood pressure correctly?
Carefully read the instruction manual and use the device according to the instructions. Place the cuff on your bare arm (wrist or shoulder) and fasten it properly. Sit up straight, extend your arm with the cuff at the level of your heart and start measuring. Pressurize 30-40 mmHg above your normal blood pressure. Do not move or talk during measurement.
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What could be the reason that the pressure is not measured?
- Check the batteries and make sure they are installed correctly and do not need to be replaced.
- If the screen turns off or there is no measurement signal. Check if there are any irregularities in the device itself.
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Why are the measurements taken at the hospital higher than those taken at home?
This is called “white-coat hypertension,” which is caused by the fact that the best time to take blood pressure can rise due to excitement.
Can the blood pressure measured at home be higher than the level measured at the hospital?
- Systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings increase when the cuff is loose.
- The measurement can be high if the arm with the cuff is positioned below the heart level.
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Why, during the pressure build-up, after the pressure measurement button has been pressed, does the message “BT” appear on the screen?
- This inscription may appear when the battery power is insufficient for the device to function, and the batteries need to be replaced. In some cases, after the device has been stored for a long time. At a low temperature (below 10 ° C). The power of the batteries decreases, and the device may not function properly. The inscription “BT” may appear even at the batteries’ full capacity due to certain device defects.
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What should I do if the cuff squeezes my arm/wrist so much that it hurts while building pressure?
A cuff that is too tight can numb the muscle and cause discomfort. Try measuring the pressure on your other hand/wrist. You can also try taking measurements by wearing the cuff over light underwear.
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