High blood pressure: How to check your reading is healthy at home without equipment

For a person living with high if left untreated life-threatening risks can ensue including heart disease and strokes. With most of the UK under strict lockdown, popping down to your GP to measure your blood pressure is not feasible. How can you ensure your reading is at a healthy level when at home?

Blood pressure readings provide clues about the amount of work one’s heart is doing in order to pump blood through the arteries.

The exact cause of why some people may have higher blood pressure than others is unknown.

There are numerous factors that play a role in developing high blood pressure and these include being a smoker, being overweight or obese, lack of physical activity, too much salt in the diet, drinking too much alcohol, not dealing with stress well, older age and genetics.

Regardless of what caused the blood pressure to creep up, knowing exactly what your number is and taking the appropriate measures to lower that reading if too high, is imperative.

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Blood pressure readings largely depend on a person’s gender, age, weight, and any medical conditions.

There are also many useful apps available that can a person track your blood pressure results.

This can be helpful in identifying patterns in blood pressure.

These apps can help one to quickly and easily track their blood pressure readings.

Measuring blood pressure regularly on the same area can help most accurately to track readings and ensure they are at healthy levels.

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The health site also recommends the following five steps when it comes to ensuring readings are healthy and accurate which include:

Ask your doctor: If your doctor asks you to measure your blood pressure at home or to wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor in order to diagnose hypertension, they will provide a monitor that you can borrow for a set period of time.

Buy a monitor with an upper cuff: If you are buying a home blood pressure monitor, choose one that measures your blood pressure at your upper arm, not your wrist or finger. The cheapest ones start from £10 and are available in most local pharmacies and larger supermarkets.

Make sure the cuff is the right size for your arm: Make sure you have the right cuff size for your arm. It should wrap snugly around your upper arm, with just enough space to slide two fingertips underneath. Most home blood pressure monitors will come with a medium-sized cuff. If your upper arm is particularly larger or smaller than average, you may need to buy a different sized cuff separately.

Make sure it’s UK approved: If you are buying a blood pressure monitor, make sure it is approved for use in the UK. To make sure your monitor is accurate, choose one that has been listed as validated for accuracy by the British and Irish Hypertension Society (BIHS). This means that the digital monitor has gone through a series of tests to make sure it gives results that you and your doctor can trust.

Make sure you get it serviced every two years: It needs to be regularly serviced and calibrated to make sure it is accurate – generally, at least once every two years. This usually involves sending it back to the manufacturer, who will probably charge a fee for this. If this option is too complicated or expensive it may be easier and cheaper to buy a new monitor.

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