How To Take a Blood Pressure Reading

March 8, 2007 by  

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By Stan Kitchen

Many people suffering from high blood pressure need to take their blood pressure reading daily, sometimes more often. A technological advance has made taking a blood pressure easier than ever before. Gone are the days when you had to take a blood pressure reading from the upper arm. Today, different styles and models of blood pressure reading equipment are available to suit just about any comfort level.

Are you Aneroid or Digital?

Two common types of blood pressure reading pieces of equipment are the aneroid and the digital blood pressure reading monitor. The most commonly bought model these days is a digital monitor. A digital monitor has several advantages over the more old-fashioned aneroid blood monitor.

When it comes to taking your blood pressure reading, there are several things to consider and guidelines to follow. First, before taking your reading, do not consume or use any alcohol, tobacco or products containing caffeine for at least 30 minutes before the reading. If possible, use the rest room before taking a reading. Make sure to rest at least several minutes before trying to get a reading as well. Make yourself comfortable and sit or lie down with your arms and legs uncrossed to allow unrestricted blood flow throughout the body.

How to Get an Aneroid Reading

When using an aneroid blood pressure reading cuff, place the arm in line with your heart and allow it to rest unmoving. Any blood pressure reading cuff should fit your arm comfortably without being too loose or too tight. To test, slip one finger beneath the cuff. When you place the cuff around your upper left arm, make sure it is at least an inch from the elbow joint. Slide the stethoscope disk on the inner part of the elbow, over the brachial artery.

How to Get a Digital Reading

To use a digital monitor to get a blood pressure reading, place the cuff around the arm as you did using an aneroid monitor. Starting the machine will automatically inflate the cuff. The digital readout display should soon give your blood pressure reading.

Some digital monitors can fit around the wrist as well, and you can use them the same way. However, make sure that you place the pressure cuff so its bottom edge is about an inch away from the base of the hand. Again, it is important to remain still when using a digital cuff because they are sensitive to movement. If you move about while the machine is reading your pressure, you can get a wrong reading, or no reading at all.

Where you can buy your monitor

You can find most blood pressure monitors in medical supply stores. But you can also get them on the Internet if it is more convenient for you. Once you buy a monitor, keep it in good working condition by following the manufacturers instructions.

For digital monitors, you should keep an extra supply of batteries, for times when you might need to use the monitor during weekends or holidays. This also applies if you are going away on a vacation. A small investment will give you a good blood pressure reading cuff that will last for many years.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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