Blood Pressure Check

Blood pressure checks are important to control and monitor our cardiovascular system. Here are some useful tips about blood pressure checks and how to do one.

Blood pressure is one of the vital signs that indicates how well our cardiovascular system is working.

If any of the principal vital signs — such as blood pressure — doesn’t meet the normal ranges, it may mean something is wrong with our health. However, it is important to be aware that blood pressure ranges can temporarily change under certain circumstances.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about how to check blood pressure to preserve your health.

What is Blood Pressure?

Our organs and other tissues receive blood supplies from the heart. As the blood runs throughout our body, pressure emerges into the blood vessels of the circulatory system. The state of this pressure is reviewed and diagnosed during a blood pressure check.

Understanding Blood Pressure Readings

There are two types of readings to measure blood pressure:

  • Systolic Blood Pressure. The pressure when the heart muscle contracts while sending blood to the blood vessels.
  • Diastolic Blood Pressure. The pressure when the heart muscle relaxes.

Blood pressure readings are measurements expressed by a pair of numbers that represent the systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The unit measure of blood pressure is millimeters of mercury (mmHg). For example:

125/75(mmHg)

The top number (125) represents the systolic blood pressure, while the bottom number (75) represents the diastolic blood pressure.

Blood Pressure Ranges

According to the guidelines of the American Heart Association, blood pressure ranges are:

  • Normal: Below 120/80 mmHg.
  • Elevated: Systolic between 120–129 and diastolic below 80 mmHg.
  • Hypertensive (High Blood Pressure):
  • Hypertension Stage 1: Systolic between 130–139 or diastolic below 80.
  • Hypertension Stage 2: Systolic of 140 mmHg or higher and diastolic of 90 mmHg or higher.
  • Hypertensive Crisis: Systolic over 180 mmHg and/or diastolic over 120.

How to Take Your Own Blood Pressure at Home

Manual Check 

  1. Locate your pulse: Confirm that you are calm and relaxed by taking your pulse. The normal pulse rate is between 60–100 beats per minute.
  2. Position the cuff: Put your arm straight and place the deflated cuff around your bicep. Inflate the cuff until the arterial flow stops.
  3. Systolic Pressure: While the cuff remains inflated, place the stethoscope on your elbow crease. The systolic pressure is the number that appears when you first hear tapping sounds (Korotkoff).
  4. Diastolic Pressure: Slowly deflate the cuff as you start hearing soft swishing sounds. Your diastolic pressure is the number indicated when the sounds completely disappear.

Digital Devices

Digital devices can be used to check blood pressure. Here is how:

  1. Depending on your device, place it on the wrist or upper arm. If you use a wrist monitor, maintain your hand at heart-level for an accurate reading. Other devices work by pressing a button for a specific time.
  2. Wait for the device to automatically give your blood pressure reading.

Tips to Check Your Blood Pressure

Our heart rate can easily be affected by the activities and emotions that we experience in our daily lives. Some factors that cause blood pressure to temporarily rise are:

  • Stress or intense emotions
  • Exercise
  • Caffeine
  • Certain medications
  • Sudden or intense pain

The best time to check your blood pressure is during the morning, before taking any medicines or caffeine. Just make sure to be relaxed and wait about 5 minutes for the cortisol hormone — which gives us adrenaline to help us wake up — to settle down.

BASS Urgent Care provides medical services to help you monitor and keep your blood pressure under control. Your well being is our priority.