Keeping Tabs On Your BP: COVID-19 & Beyond

1. Understand The Numbers

Depending on your medical history and whether you are using BP medication, there is a “normal” range that applies to you. Have a word with your doctor and be aware of this number. Broadly, here’s what typical readings indicate:

2. Get A Good Blood Pressure Monitor

  • Pick a BP monitor that has an arm cuff. The finger and wrist monitor readings are usually less accurate.
  • Also pick an automatic/digital monitor. The display will be easier to read and you won’t have to learn to use the stethoscope as with a manual one. Your doctor will be able to offer suggestions on the most accurate brands.

3. Follow These Dos & Don’ts To Measure Accurately

  • Take your BP once in the morning before you eat or take any medications. Repeat in the evening.
  • Check your BP at the same time every day so the readings are comparable and do not vary due to other factors, like whether you’ve eaten or not/just woken up or have been awake a while etc.
  • Ensure you take the BP from the same arm every day.
  • Do take your BP before exercising, if you work out in the mornings.
  • Don’t take your BP with a full bladder as it can raise your BP a little. Always use the toilet first.
  • Don’t consume caffeine (in any form), alcohol, or tobacco for at least 30 minutes before checking your BP.
  • Don’t talk when you are measuring your BP.

4. Get Down To It: Measuring Right

Now that you know when to take your BP for best accuracy, here’s how to go about it:

  • Settle yourself in a comfortable chair keeping legs and ankles uncrossed. Ensure you have good back support.
  • Calm your mind for about 5 minutes in this position before measuring.
  • Prop your arm up so it is at heart level on a table or the arm of your chair. Use a cushion/pillow to elevate if need be.
  • Move away any clothing on your arm so the cuff is on bare skin, to improve accuracy
  • Ensure the cuff fits your arm correctly and is neither too loose/tight.
  • Note the readings. Take a reading again about 1-3 minutes later to confirm your number is the same. This is an easy way to check accuracy.

5. Consult A Doctor Online If Need Be

If your numbers are too high or too low, you may need to consult your doctor right away. Unless you are in distress, speak with your doctor on the phone on first to decide further course of action.