How To Check Your Blood Pressure Without Equipment
If you’re conscious about your blood pressure, then there are more ways than you’d think to monitor it at home without purchasing traditionally used equipment, such as a blood pressure cuff or monitor.
Young or old, high blood pressure can be a precursor to future health conditions. It’s important to listen to your body and ensure that your heart is not under increased strain. A high BP can lead to your arteries becoming less flexible and thicker than average. In some instances, people’s arteries can become thinner and weaker. This can eventually lead to blood clots which can then lead to potentially life threatening long term illnesses such as
- kidney disease
- heart attacks and even
Each time your heart beats, blood is pumped through your vascular system before it reaches all of the tissues in your body. For the blood to flow, the arteries need to be sufficiently pressurized to prevent organ and tissue damage. It is just as important as temperature, heart rate and breathing rate to monitor.
Thankfully there are many ways to reduce strain on your arteries and heart, but the first step is to monitor your BP, because let’s face it, we can all live a little bit healthier! Most people have a vice. Whether it is eating copious amounts of processed foods, caffeine, alcohol or smoking. But we can all take steps to a healthier future.
If a blood pressure monitor has never been high on the agenda while you are out shopping or browsing eBay then you are not alone. A quality monitor or cuff can be expensive, it is also sometimes inconvenient to use. Nevertheless, they are the more accurate way to measure your blood pressure and they may pay off after some time, especially if you need to keep your pulse in check regularly. If you want to find some great and recommended cuffs and monitors, you will definitely find this list helpful.
For the start, we will rely on the manual measuring method. If you trust yourself more than a device, then the following tips will be pretty handy for you. You can practically monitor your vitals wherever and whenever you need to or want!
Different Methods Of Accurately Checking Your Blood Pressure
You may be concerned that you won’t get an accurate reading without the use of overpriced cuffs or going to see your doctor. Still, there are some manual measurement methods that we will cover showing you exactly how to check your medically accurate blood pressure. The first thing that you’ll need to know is how to measure your pulse and what the particular values mean.
Blood Pressure Explained
For an accurate measure, you’ll need to use two separate readings. The first is referred to as systolic blood pressure the first number in your reading indicating the pressure inside the artery when the heart is pumping blood. The second is called your diastolic blood pressure which is often read beneath the systolic pressure reading, this measures the pressure of the artery when the heart is resting. An example of a rating is 115/80 mm Hg where mm stands for millimeters of mercury. If readings are higher than normal. This means your heart is under extra strain. It is normal for your heart rate increasing every time when stressed or scared, but it could be a sign that your arteries are becoming narrower. It is worth noting that everyone is different. Some people have a significantly higher or lower BP than others.
Please keep in mind that it is very unlikely, that you are able to determine the exact values of the systolic and diastolic blood pressure with the manual method. But you can easily check your pulse as shown in the following section…
The Finger Measurement Method – Pulse Measuring
It couldn’t be easier to measure your pulse by hand. The first thing you’ll have to consider is the time that you’ve taken.
It’s not advisable to measure at certain times of the day when you’re
- dizzy or
- have taken medication.
Make sure that you’re relaxed with your arm positioned straight, palm facing upwards on a table. To get the best readings, you will have to take your readings at the same time of the day, and by using the same arm. Avoid smoking, drinking or eating beforehand. It is worth noting that with the finger measuring method, you are only able to get an indication of the “upper” number in your reading as it is impossible to measure the bottom number without equipment. We would recommend using the radial artery as the radial artery needs at least 80 mm hg to reach it.
1. Find a quiet place, roll up your sleeve and remove any tight clothing from your left arm. Before taking your blood pressure make sure you’ve rested for at least 3 minutes. Rest your arm at heart level, preferably using a table to lean the back of your hand upon. Keep your back straight and your legs uncrossed then locate your pulse.
2. Lightly press your index finger and second finger to the Radial (side of the wrist) or the Carotid pulse at the side of your neck. You should press down until you can feel the blood pulsing under the skin. The Carotid pulse is sometimes easier to find than the Radial pulse
3. Using a watch or a clock, or even an app with a second count digital display, count the number of throbs you feel for 60 seconds. If you decide to count for a shorter amount of times the readings won’t be as accurate as they would be using a 60 second duration.
4. Check the strength of your pulse. Is your pulse strong or weak? You’ll be able to determine the strength of your pulse after you’ve been taking it for a while. Always communicate any concerns with your Dr, as a weak, strong, faint or bounding pulse may be an indicator of an underlying heart or vascular problem. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
5. Check the rhythm of your pulse. It’s easier than it sounds! To check your rhythm you’ll need to look for the regularity of the pulse and the pauses between them. If you notice any skips or any other fluctuations when taking your pulse these class as irregularities, if they happen once or twice, that’s not cause for concern. However, if it’s a consistent problem that you’ve noticed consult with your Doctor.
If you’re still not confident in the finger measurement method, Check out the video below for a visual demonstration!
Make Sure To Keep Track Of Your Readings!
You can make use of some already created logs and write in manually your values. To give you some ideas of what you can use, we attached some Sample PDFs. You only need to print them or adapt them to your needs:
- BP Log from mskcc.org (PDF)
- Blood Pressure Goal Log from heart.org (PDF)
- Simple Blood Pressure Log from zewa.com (PDF)
Although it can be count as an equipment, too, almost everyone has a smartphone or similar gadget, so we put it in the list of our recommendations. App’s are great for you to help keep track and monitor your vital signs, they can help to identify underlying health conditions. It can help you to keep track of all your blood pressure levels in a very effective and comfortable way.
App’s such as ‘Family Lite‘ (IOS) allows you to enter your weight, height and medication alongside your readings and the app presents you with information by utilizing graphical analytical tools.
We also recommend our favorite app by Kilmaszewski Szymon (Android). It has one of the easiest interfaces, which
- shows detailed records of your readings
- provides you with interactive charts and
- presents a 24-hour average result.
The app even sends you handy reminders if you forgot to take your BP. Moreover, it gives you the option to download, share, and customize your data, with automatic backups by using Google Drive! What more could you ask for?
What To Do if Your Blood Pressure Is Too High, Low Or Irregular?
A normal BP is said to be anything less than 120/80. However what’s ‘normal’ is influenced by your weight, age, gender and if you have medical conditions. If your blood pressure exceeds the 120/80, you may suffer from hypertension. If readings exceed 180/110 you should seek emergency care immediately.
Other ways of reducing your blood pressure are diuretics, calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors. It’s important to visit a GP at least once a year to calibrate your readings with the Doctors medical readings to ensure that they’re correct. However, a lot of people have reported ‘White Coat Syndrome’, where their measurements are significantly higher than their readings at home due to the anxiety and stress some people experience whilst in a Doctors office. If you suffer from White Coat Syndrome, it is recommended to monitor your vitals at home.
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