5 Tips for the Most Accurate Blood Pressure Reading posted on: 02-03-2015

boston home careWe’re all familiar with the importance of keeping an eye on our blood pressure. We even have the convenience of checking our blood pressure while waiting for a prescription at the pharmacy or during a shopping trip. But how do we know these readings are as accurate as they should be? And furthermore, what do those two numbers even mean?

For a quick definition, Harvard Health explains that the top number (systolic pressure) measures artery pressure at the instant the heart contracts, while the bottom number (diastolic pressure) tracks the pressure between heartbeats. They also share the latest normal and high blood pressure guidelines from the Journal of the American Medical Association:

  • Among adults age 60 and older with high blood pressure, aim for a target blood pressure under 150/90
  • Among adults age 30 to 59 with high blood pressure, aim for a target blood pressure under 140/90
  • Among adults with diabetes or chronic kidney disease, aim for a target blood pressure under 140/90

To ensure your blood pressure readings are as accurate as possible, North River Home Care offers the following five tips:

  • Make sure to take the readings at the same time each day.
  • Take two or three readings one minute apart and record all three results for better accuracy.
  • Have the person sit with her back straight and supported and feet flat on the floor; crossed legs can negatively affect the reading. Place the person’s arm on a flat surface, with the upper arm at heart level.
  • Make sure the middle of the cuff is placed directly over the person’s brachial artery and fits correctly. To find the brachial artery, with the person’s arm out, palm facing up, trace a line from the outside of his thumb, up his outer arm to the bend in his elbow. At that bend is the brachial artery.
  • The person whose blood pressure you are reading should not smoke, drink caffeinated beverages or exercise within 30 minutes before measuring blood pressure.

If your loved one struggles with maintaining healthy blood pressure, the senior care professionals at North River Home Care can help in a variety of ways – from planning and preparing healthy meals, to picking up prescriptions and providing medication reminders, to helping him or her stay active with recreational activities, and more. Providing Massachusetts home care in a wide region, including but not limited to the region loosely bound by Boston, Attleboro, Cape Cod and Chatham, we’re just a phone call away. Contact us any time at 781-659-1366.