How to check your blood pressure at home ?

How to check your blood pressure at home ?

What’s high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is measured as two numbers, one over the other–for example, 120 over 80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). The systolic, or top, number reflects the pressure in the arteries when the heart is pumping. The diastolic, or bottom, number reflects the pressure between heartbeats. An elevation in either or both of those numbers constitutes hypertension. Optimal blood pressure is a systolic of less than 120 mm Hg and a diastolic of less than 80 mm Hg. Borderline high blood pressure is a systolic of 120 to 139 mm Hg and a diastolic of 80 to 89 mm Hg. And hypertension is a systolic of 140 or more mm Hg and a diastolic of 90 or more mm HG.

How to lower your blood pressure ?

Studies have conclusively shown that changes in lifestyle can reduce blood pressure substantially. Other research has clarified which medications work best for which people. Here is what you can do:

Diet and exercise

Lose excess weight. Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or no-fat dairy products and low in salt. Limit your alcohol intake, and quit smoking. Do aerobic exercise regularly. Strength training can help, too. Consider stress-reducing techniques such as yoga, meditation, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Pain-relieving nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Limit the use of NSAIDS such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, and generics) and naproxen (Aleve and generics), as well as the COX-2 drug celecoxib (Celebrex).

Sleep apnea

This breathing disorder, common in heavy snorers, increases blood pressure. See a sleep specialist if you’ve already tried losing weight, sleeping on your side, and avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills.

Medicate, if necessary

If after three or four months changes in lifestyle fail to reduce blood pressure sufficiently, your doctor may need to prescribe medication. Diuretics, the oldest and least expensive type of antihypertensive drug, are best for most people with uncomplicated hypertension, particularly those with only an elevated systolic reading.

Beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) are good options for people with certain additional disorders. Alpha-blockers and calcium-channel blockers should generally be reserved for people who don’t respond to or can’t tolerate other drugs. Note that evidence has suggested that ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, and ARBs may be less effective in African-Americans.

How to check your blood pressure at home ?

Most people with blood pressure matter should use a home monitor regularly. So should many people with prehypertension–particularly if they have other risk factors for heart disease. In general, you should check pressure at least twice a week at about the same time of day, and as often as twice a day if the hypertension isn’t well controlled or if the treatment has changed. Here is how to get the most accurate results:

  • Wait at least a half-hour after eating, drinking beverages with caffeine, smoking, or exercising before you test.
  • Remove clothing or jewelry that interferes with placement of the cuff. If necessary, empty your bladder before testing.
  • Sit in a comfortable chair with a back for support, and relax for at least 5 minutes before testing. Keep your feet flat on the floor. Don’t talk, move, or cross your legs.
  • With an arm monitor, adjust the cuff as directed by the product’s manufacturer. The monitor’s instructions should explain the proper positioning.
  • Rest your arm on a table so that the cuff is at the same height as your heart. For wrist monitors, instructions normally direct you to place your wrist at the level of your heart.
  • Do your initial tests on both arms. If the readings differ by more than a few points, check with your physician. If not, just use the more comfortable side.
  • Take two readings about 1 or 2 minutes apart. Typically, the second reading will be lower. If the results differ by more than 5 points, take a third reading and average the results. Some automatic monitors will average three closely spaced readings automatically.
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