How to check blood pressure
Knowing your blood pressure, and what a healthy target is for you, can help you stay healthy.
Blood pressure is the force of blood in your arteries - the vessels that move blood from your heart to the rest of your body.
Your body is always adjusting the blood pressure depending on what you need in the moment. It is normal for your blood pressure to fluctuate during the day, and it is okay for your blood pressure to be a little high so long as it is for a short period of time.
If blood pressure is too high for longer periods of time, it can cause serious damage to the brain, eyes, heart, kidneys and genitals. You can check your blood pressure by taking readings with a blood pressure machine, at home or in the clinic.
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In this video, we will show you to take your blood pressure at home. Taking your blood pressure at home is more accurate than at the CMC.
Taking your blood pressure often is important. t helps you keep an eye on it, manage it, and prevent serious problems like stroke, heart problems, kidney problems and many more.
How to get ready
Make sure you have good batteries in the machine, or that it is plugged into the wall. On the side, you can switch to doing 1 reading at a time, or 3 at a time.
Before taking your blood pressure, find a quiet place and do it alone if you can.
Sit in a comfortable chair. Empty your bladder before you begin. Don't smoke or drink coffee 30 minutes before.
Don't check your phone or watch TV during the test. Sit and rest for 5 minutes before. Wait if you are in pain or are very stressed.
Taking your blood pressure
Don't cross your legs.
Sit back in your chair comfortably. Both feet are on the ground.
Put your arm on an armrest, table, or pillow, so your upper arm is at the same height as your heart.
Wrap the cuff around your upper arm.
Use 2 fingers to measure from the elbow and under the cuff.
When you put on the cuff around your arm, use 2 fingers to measure if it is on properly.
Press the start button.
There is a countdown on the screen before it starts. The cuff will inflate with air for some time. When the countdown is over, the result will show up.
Fill out the logbook.
If you have any questions, contact the local PCCR or come see us. Thank you.
It's important to check your blood pressure
Did you know?
You will not know if you have high blood pressure unless you check it. Most people with high blood pressure do not have symptoms.
Checking your blood pressure
When blood pressure is too high most of or all the time it is called hypertension.
Hypertension causes damage to your blood vessels and organs - especially the heart, kidneys, and brain.
Most people with high blood pressure do not have symptoms, so it is important to check.
If you have high blood pressure, you can lower it through lifestyle changes and medications.
Knowing your blood pressure can help you make changes to keep you healthy.
Seek follow-up if your blood pressure remains high.
Blood pressure is measured using a special blood pressure machine or device.
The machine measures the pressure of your blood as it moves through your arteries (the blood vessels taking blood from your heart to the rest of your body).
It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
The machine has a cuff that you put around your arm that fills with air.
A blood pressure reading has two numbers – the top (or first) and the bottom (or second number). For example, 120/80 mm Hg.
The first number is called your systolic blood pressure (120 in the example of 120/80 mm Hg) – it tells you about the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats (pumping the blood to the rest of the body).
The second number is called diastolic blood pressure (80 in the example of 120/80 mm Hg) – it tells you the pressure in your arteries when your heart is resting between beats (filling back up with blood).
Blood pressure under 120/80 is ideal.
For people who have been diagnosed with hypertension, the healthy target is anywhere under 140/90.
The recommended target for people with both hypertension and diabetes is less than 130/80 mm Hg.
The target for people with diabetes is different because high blood glucose (sugar) levels damage blood vessels and nerves over time.
It's important to have your blood pressure checked periodically
Get it checked every year if:
You are at high risk
You have diabetes
You are 40 years old or over
Your blood pressure is close to the hypertension level (130s/80s) or if one of the numbers is often high - over 140 for the top number, or over 90 for the bottom number
If you have hypertension (high blood pressure) or certain health conditions (such as pregnancy, diabetes, chronic kidney diseases, etc.), your healthcare team will create a plan for you. This may include using an at-home blood pressure machine so that you can follow it more closely.
Worried about your blood pressure or you have family history of heart disease?
- Ask your PCCR for an at-home blood pressure machine if you are worried about your blood pressure, or if you have a family history of hypertension or heart disease.
- It is very important to be measured for the right size cuff. If it is too tight, it will give you a higher reading. Your PCCR will help guide you.
High blood pressure is when the force of the blood in your arteries is higher than normal.
Through regular medical appointments and monitoring your blood pressure, you can detect high blood pressure early so that you can manage it and pre