Dr Vaishak Vidyadhar, Physician, The Bangalore Hospital, Bangalore, India speaks about the convenience of monitoring blood pressure at home and some of the do’s and don’ts for a successful home measurement of blood pressure.
Blood pressure measurement has become quite easy and convenient due to the availability of user-friendly blood pressure measuring machines. Most of these machines provide valuable readings for patients newly diagnosed with hypertension, someone whose hypertension medications are changed, individuals adopting healthy lifestyle or someone who suffers from “white coat effects”. “White coat effects” is a condition wherein a patient becomes anxious when being with a doctor, thus recording falsely elevated blood pressure readings.
It is recommended to cross check these readings with a mercury sphygmomanometer
Whenever possible, so as to gauge the accuracy of the blood pressure monitor.
“It is important to follow certain guidelines while taking the measurements at home. It is very likely that the readings might get affected if care is not taken. Note down all the readings with date and timings of recording, in a proper chart. Share the same with your doctor to get an idea of the blood pressure control (pressure pattern). Your doctor will be able to prescribe or modify the medicines accordingly,” says Dr Vaishak Vidyadhar.
Some of the points that should be considered while taking blood pressure measurements include:
- Always measure in the same arm. Different arms may give variations in the readings.
- Sit comfortably with legs apart, feet flat on the floor. Relax your arm. Your arm should be at the same level as your heart.
- Wear loose and comfortable clothes.
- Do not take in a heavy meal, caffeinated drinks, alcohol and medications or do smoking before taking the readings.
- Measurements should be ideally taken twice a day, once in the morning and in the evening, preferably at the same time.
- Empty your bladder before taking the measurements.
- Take rest for 15 minutes before checking your readings.