The importance of checking blood pressure at home
Blood pressure is the amount of force your heart uses to pump blood around your body. If you have high blood pressure, your heart has to work extra hard to pump the blood around your body, causing a strain on your arteries which can eventually lead to health problems like heart disease, stroke, or heart attack. However, you may not have any warning signs or symptoms that your blood pressure is high. Many people with high blood pressure don’t even know it! By checking your blood pressure regularly, you can lower your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Check your blood pressure at home. Here’s why.
The American Heart Association recommends that anyone with hypertension (high blood pressure) monitor their blood pressure at home. Self-monitoring helps you keep tabs on your numbers, check if your medication is working, and alerts you and your doctor to potential health complications. You may also find that self-monitoring gives you an increased sense of responsibility and control, motivating you to stick with healthy habits like eating right and exercise. If you’re lucky, checking your blood pressure at home may even save you time and money by enabling you to skip a doctor or clinic visit.
Of course, home monitoring is not a substitute for visits to your doctor. It’s a way to see what is happening on a regular basis outside the doctor’s office. Don’t stop or change your treatment plan without talking to your healthcare team first.
How often should you check your blood pressure?
Make measuring your blood pressure a part of your routine. Taking regular readings is a great way to get you closer to reaching your health goals and to see if your treatment is working. While there’s no magic answer to how often you should take your blood pressure, the Mayo Clinic suggests checking your blood pressure as often as twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Sounds like that’s checking your blood pressure too often? You may not need to check as frequently. Consult your healthcare team about what is right for you.
Is it dangerous to take your blood pressure too often?
Members often ask our coaches if it’s bad to check your blood pressure too often. In our experience, everyone is different and there’s really no right and wrong answer when it comes to taking blood pressure too often. Some people are reassured by the routine of measuring regularly each day, while others find the experience challenging. You shouldn’t check too often if it makes you anxious. Stick with the guidelines from your doctor. If you get a high reading, wait five minutes, and check again.
Which blood pressure monitor is right for you?
Here’s what you want to consider when choosing a blood pressure monitor:
- Cuff size: Go with a monitor that has a cuff that you put on your upper arm. Wrist and finger monitors give less reliable readings. The cuff size is super important! If your cuff doesn’t fit you properly, you may not get accurate blood pressure measurements. Measure the circumference of your upper arm midway between the elbow and the shoulder or check with your healthcare provider about which size is right for you.
- Cost: Before you buy a blood pressure monitor, see if your insurance covers it.
- Customer reviews: Do a bit of research. See what people have to say about the monitor you’re thinking of buying.
It’s a good idea to bring your monitor to your next doctor’s appointment, just so they can make sure you’re using it correctly and that the readings are accurate
If you’re interested in the Dario Blood Pressure Monitor, you can learn more here.
When is the best time to measure your blood pressure?
First, you want to find a time when you will be relaxed and won’t be disrupted by work, family, or other commitments. It is best if you can measure at the same time and with the same conditions each day.
Get ready to measure your blood pressure
30 minutes before measuring
- Don’t smoke
- Don’t exercise
- Don’t drink anything with caffeine
5 minutes before measuring
- Empty your bladder
- Find a quiet space
- Sit still in a chair and rest
Time to measure!
We advise you not to take a measurement when you’re stressed, if it’s noisy, or if you’re cold.
- Remove tight-fitting clothing from your upper arm.
- Wrap the bottom of the cuff just above the bend of your elbow, against your skin – not over clothing.
- Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
- Rest your arm on a table so that the cuff is at the same level as your heart.
- Remain still and do not move your fingers or talk during measurement.
Stay on top of your numbers!
Once you get used to monitoring at home, you may find you like seeing your numbers regularly. Over time, you’ll be able to tell how food and exercise affect your readings and make changes in response to what you see. Monitoring at home is a great way to stay on top of your health without having to spend too much time or money. Give it a try and see if it works for you.
The articles provided on this website are for informational purposes only. In addition, it is written for a generic audience and not a specific case; therefore, this information should not be used for diagnostic or medical treatment. This site does not attempt to replace the patient-physician relationship and fully recommends the reader to seek out the best care from his/her physician and/or diabetes educator.