How To Accurately Take Your Blood Pressure At Home

High blood pressure or hypertension is known as the “silent killer.” It can happen without any symptoms and eventually lead to serious complications, such as heart attack and stroke. 

People experience hypertension when the force against blood vessel walls significantly increases. Those who are inactive, overweight and with an unhealthy diet have high risk of having an elevated blood pressure.

However, people who are generally healthy may also be at risk due to family history, stress, alcohol consumption and tobacco use. Since hypertension can occur symptomless, it is important to regularly monitor blood pressure levels. 

Fortunately, there are tools that now allow people to check their blood pressure anytime at home. Some wireless, digital blood pressure monitors are portable and easier to use compared to previous methods. 

New blood pressure reading methods are automatic and promise to provide accurate information. They also meet the standards set by the American Heart Association (AHA), according to CNET.

AHA said that a healthy blood pressure should stay below 120/80 mmHg or millimeters of mercury. The first number is the systolic blood pressure, or the pressure in blood vessels every time the heart beats. The second number is for diastolic blood pressure. It is the pressure in blood when your heart rests in between beats. 

At-Home Blood Pressure Reading

Despite having easier access to blood pressure monitors, it is not always necessary to do a reading. The timing and place may affect the results. 

To ensure accuracy, there are simple practices that you should follow before checking your blood pressure levels. They are as listed below.

  • Check blood pressure at the same time of day for every reading
  • Avoid exercise, caffeine and alcohol at least 30 minutes before reading
  • Don't wear the blood pressure cuff over clothes
  • Sit up straight and be still during the process
  • Record all results with the date and time 

Blood Pressure Categories

The numbers that will appear on your device will indicate how your body is doing. Normal or healthy blood pressure levels should be less than 120/80 mmHg. 

Having a 120 to 129 systolic and less than 80 mmHg may indicate an elevated blood pressure or prehypertension. There are two stages of hypertension that people should watch out for.

Hypertension stage 1 occurs with 130 to 139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic. Hypertension stage 2 is when people get a systolic of 140 or higher or a diastolic of 90 or greater. 

At these stages, doctors may recommend lifestyle changes and prescribe medications to manage blood pressure. However, some people may experience a worse condition called hypertensive crisis.

It occurs when systolic becomes higher than 180 and/or diastolic reaches higher than 120. Hypertensive crisis requires immediate medical attention to prevent complications.

high blood pressure People tend to ignore their condition due to misinformation and some myths about high blood pressure, which could negatively affect how one treats high blood pressure. Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images