Why should I measure my blood pressure?
Blood pressure is important as it tell us the pressure when blood is pushed out of the heart and when your heart relaxes in between beats. If, for example, your blood pressure is too high, it can lead to a stroke or a heart attack and increase your chance of developing long-term health problems such as kidney disease, dementia, or coronary heart disease. By monitoring your blood pressure it can indicate if you are at risk of developing these problems and potentially prevent them from happening.
Why are my readings inconsistent?
Throughout your day, your blood pressure will vary, this is completely normal. When you wake up you will find your blood pressure is probably quite low compared to if you measure your blood pressure just after going for a walk. There are some factors that have a temporary affect on your blood pressure like exercise, stress, caffeine and alcohol so you may be finding that your readings are different because these things have affected it. Essentially, you need to compare ‘apples with apples’. When you are taking your readings and comparing them, you should do it in the same environment. Generally, the best time is either just before you go to bed and when you wake up. If you find your readings are still inconsistent, then you may need to check if your blood pressure monitor is working correctly.
What should I check before taking my blood pressure?
There are a few things to make sure you do to get the most accurate blood pressure reading:
- Ensure you are relaxed and have been comfortably seated for a few minutes before taking a reading.
- Take some deep breaths to become relaxed.
- Ensure your cuff is placed correctly on your arm.
- Stay completely still and silent during the reading.
What are some factors that could be affecting my blood pressure?
- High intake of salt in their diet: you should only have 1500 milligrams of salt a day to help decrease your blood pressure
- High cholesterol foods : cheese, burgers, fried food, cream etc.
- Not having enough healthy foods in their diet ie vegetables and fish.
- Exercise : 30 minutes of exercise a day is advised to help reduce blood pressure.
- Alcohol : having more than 1-2 drinks a day can increase blood pressure
- Weight : being overweight or obese can increase blood pressure
- Caffeine : drinking less tea and coffee can help reduce blood pressure
How often should I check my blood pressure?
Unless you are instructed by your doctor to take a reading regularly, it is recommended by the NHS that adults over 40 years old should have their BP checked at least once every 5 years. If, however, you are at risk of high blood pressure, you should get it checked once a year.