Blood Pressure & Common Sense

One’s blood pressure is normally always changing, our thoughts, actions and even what we eat affects the readings -numbers. One blood pressure measurement (called a ‘reading’) does not make you a “hypertensive” (one who’s body operates at an elevated blood pressure). Everyone is aware how dangerous high blood pressure is! This article focuses on the most important aspect of this critical health matter-the actual taking of the measurements.

The test– A single reading if it is going to count must reflect a steady condition/equilibrium of the body. Therefore a proper ‘testing’ of the blood pressure should be done as follow: *in the sitting position (for at least 3 minutes) both legs flat on floor *using your right arm unless there is a medical reason not to use it (injury, weakness, recent procedure, breast surgery with lymph node removal), *a cuff reflecting size of your arm (trust that the cuff as pumped up does not come undone) , bottom of the cuff should be placed with a 2 finger breaths space above your elbow crease. *Cuff should be placed on bear skin not over clothing folds *You should feel compression about your arm then a slow releasing *A retaking should not be done immediately as it will give an inaccurate reading a pause of 2 minutes is best Preparing to take an accurate blood Pressure reading

Beforehand–wear sleeveless shirt *don’t just have had a meal/bowel movement nor have drank a ‘Big Gulp’

During- CHILL! Relax do not move –be quiet so the ‘operator’ can listen for points when your heart beat matches the millimeters of pressure on the gauge. This is where the numbers come from! If a digital device is being used be quiet and relax till completed. Some feel around ‘white coats’ (medical offices) their pressure goesUP! So RELAX go somewhere wonderful in your mind.

After- Even if you are told “your BP is ‘ok’ normal’ .Find out what is YOUR normal! Ask what should be your BP range, what action if out of range? Manual blood pressure readings are done with use of a stethoscope while a digital/automatic reading is not. You can guess  if done properly which is more accurate? If staff has preformed the reading in other than this manner please speak for yourself and tell the person in charge/doctor why you think so- by describing how it was done Personal blood pressure devices are very useful, if you have been educated how and when to use them. Many of  doctors  do not want their patients to have them. opinion is that  patients need to be educated, respected and enlisted to help us medical folks do a better job caring for all! Get a home blood pressure device if you are diagnosed with hypertension! Naturally monitoring on a daily bases is more important for your care than one reading at the doctors office every few weeks!

Some points to consider:

  • Can Buy with Rx- insurance pays/helps with the purchase, also it is tax- deductable
  • Take the device with you to the office, fire station, EMS squad, and verify its reading to the ‘manual’ (done by hand) reading-establish it is accurate
  • Ask how often and when you should ‘check’ your pressure.
  • Ask your medical caregiver what readings, i.e. numbers should be of concern
  • If it is ‘out of range’ how long should you wait to retake it
  • If abnormal  should you take a dose of your already prescribed medication; or something else  and under what circumstances should you call the doctor or get help –you should be given symptoms you’d be likely to have given your specific medical state.


  • The most performed, most relied on measurement is most often done incorrectly. Don’t allow yourself to be labeled on a single measurement. Remember multiple non stressful reading is necessary For you to earn the label “Hypertensive person”
  • Realize as we Age our BP naturally changes-it goes higher!
  • Medication’s efficiency changes over time as do our blood vessels therefore your medications may no longer keep you at a safe blood pressure.
  • Routine taking and recording of BP if you are on medication is vital.  You all know STROKE can occur as well as heart attack and on and on!
  • IF ABNORMAL -it is important to note and tell your health care provider why you decided to take your blood pressure and all information/circumstances relate the measurement to emotion, activity and when you took your medication. Did you take it as a routine? Did you take it because you felt nausea or dizzy?

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