Blood Pressure Check
Why the Test is Performed
The only way to know if blood pressure is high is to regularly measure it several times a day over several months. High blood pressure itself may not have any symptoms, so it is important to regularly check your blood pressure even if it does not feel like it is high.
To help you better control your blood pressure, your doctor might suggest measuring your blood pressure at home. Your doctor can suggest the number of times to measure your blood pressure each day and at what times.
How the Test is Performed
Usually, a cuff is filled with air to squeeze the artery in your upper arm while a “gauge” (measuring tool) records your blood pressure as the air is released from the cuff. Home devices should use digital (electronic) gauges for convenience. There are three types of home blood pressure monitors:
- Automatic monitors: You turn this monitor on by pushing a button. The cuff inflates by itself. It detects your blood pressure as the cuff deflates and displays the measurement for you.
- Semi-automatic monitors: With a semi-automatic monitor, you inflate and deflate the arm cuff yourself. It displays a digital reading of your blood pressure.
- Manual monitors: You inflate the arm cuff by pumping a rubber bulb attached to the cuff by a tube. You then use a stethoscope to listen to the sounds of the blood flowing through your artery as you let the pressure in the cuff slowly go down.How to Prepare For the Test
There is no special preparation required to check your blood pressure
During the Test
The cuff needs to fit your arm properly. If the cuff does not fit right, it will not give a correct reading. You may want to check before buying the monitor to make sure the cuff is not too large
or too small for your arm. When it is tightly fitted you may feel a little discomfort. The gauge or display on the monitor should be large enough so you can clearly see it.
After the Test
Make sure you note the values and if possible get a book to record the date, time and the result. It will help you monitor the trend and your doctor to make a better evaluation.
There is no risk associated with checking your blood pressure as long as you do it properly.