Sunday, September 21, 2014

How to Take Your Own Blood Pressure

If you intend to take your blood pressure yourself without help from another person, you should probably get one of those cuffs with a digital readout that inflates itself and doesn't require a stethoscope.  The reason for this is, it's impossible to properly take your own pressure when using a regular blood pressure cuff and stethoscope because this requires the use of two hands, and if you are taking your own pressure, you can't use the arm that's in the cuff.  The self-inflating units are not considered to be quite as accurate, but it would certainly give you a ballpark figure to work with.   The best thing to do is have someone else take your pressure for you if you have a regular blood pressure cuff.  However, there are self-taking wrist cuffs available at your local drug store which we recommend. 

Before taking a blood pressure reading, be seated for several minutes in a darkened, quiet room.  Taking long, slow deep breaths helps to oxygenate the blood and lower pressure. 
Your forearm should be supported, at heart level.  Avoid tight fitting sleeves.

Make sure the cuff size is large enough.  An adult-sized cuff should have a bladder at least 13-15 cm wide and 30-35 cm long.  If your arms are larger than normal, a larger cuff is required, or the blood pressure will appear higher than it actually is.

Measuring procedure:

1.  Deflate the bladder of the cuff and place it around the upper arm so it fits snugly, but not too tightly.  If the person taking the pressure is right handed, they should hold the bulb/pump in their left hand to inflate the cuff.  Then they should place the stethoscope just under the cuff, usually in the bend of the arm or just above, where they can hear the heartbeat.  Hold it there firmly with a few fingers, preferably not the thumb, since it can pick up the pulse of the thumb rather than the woman's arm.  If you are using the self-taking unit, you will not have to hold the stethoscope in place.  Put the ear pieces of the stethoscope in your ears.

2.  Inflate the cuff with brisk squeezes of the bulb.  Watch the pressure gauge as you do it.  Listen with the stethoscope.  Keep inflating the bladder until you no longer hear the pulse.  Then go up about 30 points above that.

3.  Once inflated, slightly open the valve on the air pump (held in your left hand, as above).  This part takes practice.  It's important that you don't let the air out too suddenly.

4.  As the air escapes from the valve, watch the pressure gauge.  The first time you hear the pulse, note what the reading on the pressure gauge was.  This value represents the systolic blood pressure (the top number).

5.  The sounds should continue and become louder in intensity.  Note the pressure reading when you hear the sound for the last time.  This value represents the diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number).

6.  Afterwards, open the air valve completely to release any remaining pressure. 

You can avoid having to bother with the measuring procedure if you purchase one of the self-taking blood pressure products.  

Ways to lower blood pressure naturally:

-- Hawthorne berries, herbal supplement.  Works as a diuretic.
-- Cayenne herbal supplement.  Helps to equalize pressure throughout the body.
-- Calcium/magnesium.  Calcium makes the heart contract, magnesium makes it relax.
-- Resperate blood pressure lowering device. 
-- CoQ10 for Heart Health
-- Krill Oil  reduces inflammation
-- Garlic Oil  is a blood thinner

Eat more greens!  Green contain the highest levels natural nitrates which convert to nitric oxide in your blood.  This substance lowers blood pressure!  By the time you are 40 years of age, you are only producing about 1/2 the nitric oxide your body usually produces, which is one reason people's blood pressure rises with age.  The best greens for this are:  Swiss Chard, Arugula, Kale, Collard Greens, Bok Choy, and Watercress.

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Copyright 2014  Judie C. McMath and The Center for Unhindered Living

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