High Blood Pressure or Hypertension is rightly called the ‘silent killer’ as it shows no warning symptoms. The best way to protect yourself against it is to monitor your blood pressure daily. While home blood pressure devices are an easy & convenient way to monitor blood pressure, many people worry about getting inaccurate or inconsistent readings. If you’re one of them, here are some tips to ensure accurate readings:
Relax your body
Remember, the activities you perform before checking your pressure can greatly impact the results. It’s therefore important to keep your body in a state of relaxation for up to 5 min before taking a reading. You should also avoid exercising, smoking or drinking caffeinated beverages up to 30 min prior. Check your pressure on an empty bladder and refrain for talking during the process.
Wear comfortable clothing
The American Heart Association (AHA) states that the thickness and fitting of your clothing can affect the accuracy of the device. So, avoid tight clothing and long sleeves; a blood pressure reading is more accurate when it’s taken on bare skin.
Assume the right posture
When you measure your blood pressure, you need to sit in an upright position with your feet flat on the floor. You should rest your forearm on a flat surface with the upper arm at heart level. Do not cross your feet or clench your fist as the strain can cause your pressure to spike.
Ensure that the cuff is placed correctly
The wrong placement of the cuff can cause a vast difference in blood pressure readings. So, while checking your pressure, make sure the bottom of the cuff is placed directly above the bend of the elbow.
Take three blood pressure readings
Three readings should be taken one minute apart in order to allow the blood pressure monitor to gauge your pressure accurately. Always consider the average of three readings as the accurate blood pressure.
Measure your BP at the same time, every day
Your blood pressure varies throughout the day. By measuring it at the same time daily, you can avoid inconsistencies. It is recommended that you measure your blood pressure once in the morning (before exercising and breakfast) and in the evening.