Home blood pressure monitor is extremely useful for the persons suffering from high blood pressure and cardio vascular diseases. Blood pressure fluctuation is a common event in persons having high BP for a long time especially in older people. The medications in such cases need to be titrated regularly after monitoring the blood pressure levels. With a blood pressure monitor at home, you can easily check your blood pressure and adjust the medication without visiting the doctor’s clinic. You should consult your physician before altering the dosage of medicine, but a home blood pressure monitor can definitely save you from over medication.
A. Things to watch out for:
1. Certain conditions like smoking, drinking, caffeine, mental stress and tension, extreme cold conditions, physical workouts and certain drugs can raise your blood pressure levels temporarily. Make sure to avoid these factors while measuring your blood pressure.
2. Select a tranquil place at your home and relax for 5-10 minutes before checking your blood pressure. Empty your urinary bladder before monitoring the blood pressure to get accurate readings.
3. Sit on a chair in an upright and relaxed position. Free your right arm from any tight clothing and rest it comfortably on a table with your palm facing upwards. Your arm should lie along with the level of your heart. Similarly, you can also measure your blood pressure in the left arm.
B. DIY steps to check blood pressure
You can check your blood pressure manually with a Sphygmomanometer or digital blood pressure monitor. Buy a branded blood pressure monitor from a reputed dealer of medical instruments.
C. Manual blood pressure monitoring with sphygmomanometer
You need to be very careful while checking blood pressure with Sphygmomanometer. Read the instructions carefully in the booklet provided before operating the instrument.
D. Locating the pulse
1. You can easily locate your pulse by gently pressing the index and middle fingers in the center of the elbow bend of your arm.
2. You will feel mild beats of the blood flow through the brachial artery (the main artery of the upper arm). You can also place the stetho head in the same area to locate the pulse.
E. Fixing the cuff
1. Slide your arm through the cuff provided with the sphygmomanometer and fix it firmly one inch above the elbow bend.
2. Place the stetho head under the arrow mark provided in the cuff. See that the stetho head is placed on the brachial artery at the center of the elbow bend.
3. Do not fasten the cuff too tightly on your arm.
4. Place the stethoscope in your ears and make sure that the ear pieces are tilted slightly forward to get a clear sound of the pulse beat.
F. Inflating and deflating the cuff
1. This is the most crucial part of checking blood pressure manually. A pressure gauge and a rubber bulb are provided with the sphygmomanometer. Place the pressure gauge in your right hand and the rubber bulb in your left.
2. Block the airflow of the bulb by turning off the valve screw clockwise. Squeeze the bulb with your left hand and you will experience the cuff is inflating slowly. You will also hear the pulse beat through the stethoscope.
3. Watch the measurement on the gauge and keep on squeezing the bulb till the pressure gauge reading shows 30 points above the normal systolic blood pressure (mm Hg). At this point you will not be able to hear any pulse beat.
4. Slowly deflate the cuff opening the screw of the bulb and watch the reading on the pressure gauge continuously. Opening of the screw must be carried out cautiously as the reading on the pressure gauge should fall 2-3 points along with each heart beat.
5. Be alert enough to hear the first pulse beat. Note down the reading as soon you hear the first beat. This reading indicates the systolic blood pressure.
6. Continue deflating the cuff and the pressure gauge reading will fall gradually. With similar alertness note down the reading as soon the sound of the pulse beat disappears. This reading will indicate your diastolic pressure. Deflate the cuff and slowly unfasten it from your arm.
G. Checking blood pressure with a digital monitor
This is a comparatively easier process as the blood pressure readings are displayed on the digital screen and there is no need of detecting the pulse beat sound. Some digital monitors are provided with a bulb, while some are without any bulb.
1. Put on the power button of the digital monitor and observe the zero readings on the display screen.
2. Fasten the cuff on your arm similar to the manual process and squeeze the bulb to inflate the cuff. In case of automatic cuff inflation, you need to press the button to inflate the cuff.
3. Squeeze the bulb until the reading shows 30 points above the normal systolic pressure.
4. Watch the readings on the monitor. The systolic and diastolic reading will be displayed on the screen. Wait for few minutes and a long beep sound will indicate the final reading of your blood pressure. Your pulse rate will also be displayed on the screen.
Consult your doctor about how often you should check your blood pressure. Chronic high BP patients should check their blood pressure once in a week. It is not advisable to check your blood pressure daily at any time of the day unless there is a serious complication. Check your machine’s accuracy once a year comparing the readings of your doctor’s machine.