Over 100 million Americans have high blood pressure. This is concerning because high blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death worldwide. The easiest way to prevent this is to monitor your blood pressure and take steps to reduce it.
The first question many people ask is, how often should you take your blood pressure? You want to monitor your blood pressure, but you also want accurate measurements.
This guide will help you understand the ins and outs of taking your blood pressure.
How Often Should You Take Your Blood Pressure
The frequency that you test your blood pressure will depend on your health history. At a minimum, you should have your blood pressure checked at least once every year when you see your doctor.
People that suffer from hypertension should check it more often. Twice a day is useful until you get it under control. Then you can reduce your testing frequency while you monitor your heart health.
When Should You Take Your Blood Pressure?
You should always measure your blood pressure at the same time every day. This could be in the mornings or evenings. Most doctors recommend taking it in the morning when you first wake up.
If you take it at the end of the day, it’ll be higher from your moving around and the day’s stress.
How to Test Blood Pressure
Start by sitting still for at least five minutes. In the thirty minutes before you plan to check your blood pressure, don’t exercise, smoke, or drink a caffeinated beverage. You also should use the restroom.
Get into position by sitting with your back straight and supported. Place your feet flat on the floor with your legs uncrossed. Place the arm you’ll use to test with on a flat supportive surface with your upper arm at chest level.
Slide the cuff onto your arm so that the bottom is under your clothing and just above your elbow. Always follow the instructions that come with your monitor. Take two to three readings each time you test your blood pressure.
Avoid Common Mistakes
If the cuff you’re using is too large or too small, you can get artificially low or high readings. An easy way to determine cuff size is that it should be two-thirds of your arm length from your elbow to your shoulder.
You also want your arm at heart level. This eliminates gravity from influencing your reading. If your arm is above your heart, you’ll get a falsely low blood pressure reading.
Monitor and Lower Your Blood Pressure
Now that you are no longer asking, how often should you take your blood pressure, you’re ready to take action. Start by buying a quality machine so that you can get accurate readings. Then create a schedule that works with your health condition and monitoring needs.
Check out our other health and fitness articles to maintain a healthy lifestyle.