For a short definition, Harvard Health describes that the top number (systolic pressure) measures artery pressure at the moment the heart beats (whenever your heart contracts), while the bottom number (diastolic pressure) monitors the pressure in between heartbeats (when the heart is resting). The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association’s recommendations for normal and high blood pressure are as follows:
Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg
Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80
Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89
Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg
Hypertensive crisis: Systolic greater than 180 and/or diastolic greater than 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are any indications of organ damage.
To ensure your blood pressure readings are as accurate as possible, Harmony Home Health & Hospice, which provides in home care in Odgen and throughout Salt Lake City, suggests the following seven tips:
- Be sure to take your readings at the same time every day.
- Take a few readings one minute apart and document all results for the highest degree of accuracy.
- Have the person sit with her back straight and supported and feet flat on the floor; crossing the legs can negatively impact the reading. Put the person’s arm on a flat surface, with the upper arm at the level of her heart.
- Be sure the middle of the cuff is situated directly over the person’s brachial artery and fits properly. To find the brachial artery, with the person’s arm stretched out palm facing up, trace a line from the outside of her thumb, up the outer arm to the elbow’s bend. At that bend is the brachial artery.
- The person whose blood pressure you are reading should not exercise, drink caffeinated beverages, or smoke within 30 minutes prior to measuring blood pressure.
- The person should also stay silent and still throughout the reading.
- Have the person go to the bathroom just prior to the reading, since a full bladder can raise the systolic pressure.
Consumer Reports offers a helpful blood pressure monitor buying guide that shares what you should look for in a good home blood pressure monitor.
If you or a loved one is challenged by maintaining healthy blood pressure, Harmony Home Health & Hospice can help. We provide specialized in home care in Ogden and the greater Salt Lake City area, and are always on hand to help your loved one maintain a healthy life. To learn more contact us today at 1-877-I-NEED-CARE (1-877-463-3322).