How and Why to Measure your Blood Pressure at home
When my wife got diagnosed with high blood pressure there were so many things to learn.
One of those things is to measure your blood pressure at home.
It really is a fundamental skill and habit that is so very important to pick up.
Why is it so important to measure at home?
A number of things, but here are the major reasons:
- You can measure as often as you like and see progress over weeks instead of just getting a number each year at your annual checkup (or as in the case of my wife, bi-annual)
- Many people are a little bit stressed out at the doctor’s office and get a higher reading there (it’s called white-coat syndrome). Measuring at home in a comfortable and relaxed environment makes for better readings
It took us a while to figure out and get into the routine, but once you start measuring and tracking your pressure at home and you can actually see the progress you’re making over time, you don’t ever want to go back.
How else can you see if any changes you’re making really make a difference for you?
How do I measure my pressure at home?
Once you’ve decided to start measuring your pressure at home, there are a few things to think about.
- Get a device that’s certified for home use
- You can find a list of certified devices here: LINK
- Get some place to record your results
- Record date, time and the result using a notepad, a spreadsheet or you can use the aiten app (yes, we’re building that)
- Important thing is that you keep track somehow so you can see if it gets better or worse
- Avoid coffee or other stimulants at least 30 minutes before measuring.
- Try and do the measurement at roughly the same time and place so you can compare them easily
Now you’re ready to start measuring – and here’s how you do it:
Sit down somewhere comfortable
Put both feet on the floor and have your back well supported.
Take 5 minutes to relax and just focus on your breathing.
NB! Your legs need to be uncrossed
Put the cuff on your arm
With a bare arm (no clothing) wrap the cuff around your left upper arm. Rest your arm on a table so it is at the same level as your heart.
Do the measurement
Start the measurement device and keep breathing slowly, without talking, as you do the measurement.
Record the results
Using whatever method you decided on paper, spreadsheet or app.
This final step is really important for you to be able to see progress over time.
Did it make a difference for your wife?
Yes, it actually did. It took a while to get the hang of it as it was a new routine and some things to learn but after a while it got to be second nature to just keep track of the pressure.
It motivated my wife to make some changes to her lifestyle.
That in turn lowered the pressure and she got even more motivated.
More on those changes in a future post.
Good luck with your measurements. Any thoughts or questions please leave a comment.