According to the WHO, almost 88 percent of Indians do not have their blood pressure under control.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects millions of people worldwide. It’s often called the “silent killer” because it can cause serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure without showing any noticeable symptoms. According to recent data (WHO), at least one in four adults in India suffers from high blood pressure and only 12 percent have their blood pressure under control.
Regularly monitoring your blood pressure can help you identify potential problems early on. Here, dr Santosh Kumar Dora, Chief Cardiologist at Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai, gives a few tips for measuring blood pressure at home.
- It’s not about the arm, it’s about the condition: There is a 10-20 mm difference in blood pressure between the right and left arm. Normally the blood pressure measurement on the right arm is higher. If the difference between the measurements of both arms is greater, a doctor must be consulted.
- Choose the right cuff size: Choosing the right cuff size is important to get accurate readings. If the cuff is too small or too large, it may affect the accuracy of the measurement. To determine the right cuff size, you can measure your arm circumference. You must put the cuff on your bare skin.
- Measure your blood pressure correctly: When measuring blood pressure, it is important that you follow the correct procedure. Sit relaxed for at least five minutes before taking the measurement. Wrap the cuff around your upper arm, making sure it is snug but not too tight. Make sure your arm is at heart level and do not speak or move during the measurement. Avoid caffeine about 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure as it contributes to an increase in blood pressure and heart rate.
- Take several readings: Blood pressure changes throughout the day. So it’s a good idea to take it at least twice. Also, based on your schedule, set a time each day that works for you to get a more accurate reading of your blood pressure. For example; If you’re someone who exercises a lot, you need to keep a gap between your exercises. The best time to measure your blood pressure is 30 minutes after exercise. Record the readings in a journal or app to track your progress.
- Carefully measure the blood pressure of the elderly: Elderly patients are likely to have postural hypotension. In older people, blood pools in the lower part of the body due to poor autonomic control. This leads to low blood pressure and large fluctuations in blood pressure values between lying and standing.
Precautions to take when measuring blood pressure at home
dr Dora points out that while self-monitoring is an excellent practice, it needs to be tempered with proper medical advice. “For individuals with a family history of high blood pressure or related health conditions, it is important to monitor blood pressure regularly. If your blood pressure readings deviate significantly from 120/80 for three weeks or more, it is important to see your doctor. High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for various health conditions such as heart disease and stroke,” he concludes.
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Post source: The Health Site
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