When is the best time to take blood pressure at home?

Monitoring your blood pressure if you have high blood pressure is a good way to check yourself. Here's when to do it at home and how to understand the readings

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Monitoring your blood pressure if you have high blood pressure is a good way to check yourself. Here's when to do it at home and how to understand the readings

If you have high blood pressure, also called hypertension, you may be wondering what is the best time of day to get it checked or to check it out yourself. The answer depends on several factors, first of all if you do it at home alone or at the doctor's office. (Read also: 10 food tips to lower blood pressure)


Check your blood pressure at your doctor

Some people do check your blood pressure regularly by your doctor, which will get a range of readings. These multiple readings are calculated together to obtain an overall and as truthful result as possible. But how can we understand them?

Le blood pressure measurements are given as two numbers: at the top is the systolic number, while the diastolic number is at the bottom. This is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg); therefore a blood pressure of 120/80 mm Hg is read as "120 out of 80".

Blood pressure ranges

According to theAmerican Heart Association, There are five blood pressure categories:

  • normal: Readings below 120 mm Hg systolic and 80 mm Hg diastolic (less than 120/80 mm Hg)
  • high: Readings that constantly vary from 120 to 129 mm Hg systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic
  • high blood pressure stage 1: Readings that constantly vary from 130 to 139 mm Hg systolic or 80 to 89 mm Hg diastolic
  • high blood pressure stage 2: Constant readings at 140mmHg systolic or 90mmHg diastolic or higher.
  • hypertensive crisis: a reading greater than 180/120 mm Hg. This is a serious condition and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms include chest pain, trouble breathing, back pain, numbness, weakness, vision changes or difficulty speaking.

Take your blood pressure at home

Il home blood pressure monitoring it is a very common practice. It is inexpensive, relatively simple and affordable. Sometimes, it can even be more accurate than tests done by your doctor. 

La search showed that blood pressure readings at home are similar to blood pressure recorded by 24-hour ambulatory monitors. 

Your doctor may recommend home blood pressure checks for other reasons besides monitoring. For example, they may want to see if a drug used to control blood pressure is working well; or, may want to look for any changes to a new low-salt diet. Home blood pressure checks are also used to monitor themasked hypertension; this happens when blood pressure is normal in the doctor's office but is higher at home.

How to self-monitor blood pressure

Monitoring your blood pressure yourself at home is different if a doctor does it. Here are some useful tips for self-monitoring:

  • get readings at least twice a day: blood pressure changes throughout the day; it is typically at its lowest soon after waking up and tends to fluctuate up to 30% throughout the day. This is due to hormonal changes, activity level and eating.
  • measure it at the same time every day: Measuring it at the same time every day should give you roughly the same reading. 
  • fai more than one reading every time you check: Try to get two or three readings, one minute apart. Record your results on a notepad or use an online tracker.
  • prepared 30 minutes before: do not exercise, smoke, drink caffeine or eat a large meal 30 minutes before self monitor your blood pressure. All of these factors can lead to high and erroneous readings. You should also empty your bladder and give yourself at least five minutes of rest.
  • choose a specific time of day: Make sure your blood pressure checks are working according to your routine. Choose a time slot that is unlikely to be interrupted by work or other commitments.
  • sit on a chairIf you measure your blood pressure while standing, this can lead to a higher or inaccurate reading. Sit comfortably in a chair with your back supported. Rest your arms on a table or other flat surface, and keep your feet flat on the floor.

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