How to correctly measure & track your blood pressure at home
If you are at risk for heart disease, have a family history of heart problems or have been diagnosed with prehypertension or hypertension, regular home blood pressure monitoring is the most important thing you can do to maintain your health.
Remember: when taking your blood pressure, open the Hello Heart app on your phone so that the reading will send!
Why and How to Correctly Measure & Track Your Blood Pressure at Home
If you are at risk for heart disease, have a family history of heart problems or have been diagnosed with prehypertension or hypertension, monitoring your blood pressure at home is the most important thing you can do to maintain your health.
Know more. Worry less.
When you regularly track your blood pressure, you know in advance if there are any changes that put you at risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, impotence or blindness. Home monitoring with an FDA-certified BP monitor is key to this process. Recording and tracking your numbers with an app makes it more likely you will stick with it over time, as well as giving you a simple more “predictive” way to stay healthy
Why Track Your Blood Pressure At Home?
Protect yourself from the silent killer before it strikes
More than 350,000 American die every year from high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. Over 80% of these incidents could be prevented if individuals had adequate warning. But heart disease often doesn't give any overt early warning signs (hence the name "the silent killer"). The only way to protect yourself is to self-monitor. Using an inexpensive home BP monitoring device and an app can help you and your doctor spot early warning signs of heart risk much better than the occasional blood pressure readings in the doctor’s office.
Discover personal trends
Your BP is affected by day-to-day life. If you track your BP over time, you can identify these trends and understand if you have a specific trigger that you need to control.
Help your doctor help you
A record of readings taken over time provides your healthcare provider a clearer picture of your blood pressure. The only way to know whether your lifestyle changes or medications are working is to check your blood pressure regularly. Keeping track of changes can help you and your health care team understand your average BP and make better treatment decisions.
To avoid white coat syndrome
1 of 5 Americans have BP readings that are higher than normal when a nurse or a doctor takes them. If this happens, your doctor thinks your BP is higher than it really is and may prescribe unnecessary drugs or higher dosage than you need. The easiest way to avoid this is to take your BP regularly at home and present them with a day-to-day record on your phone.
To avoid masked hypertension
The opposite of white coat syndrome can also happen. Masked hypertension is when you have BP readings that are lower than normal when a nurse or a doctor takes them. If this happens, your doctor thinks your BP is lower than it really is and may miss a correct diagnosis. The easiest way to avoid this is to take your BP regularly at home and present them with a day-to-day record on your phone. Your doctor will manage your condition based on your home blood pressure readings.
To feel better
When you track your BP regularly, you gain a stronger sense of responsibility for your health. Some people report that once they start to track their BP they are more motivated to control it, and it’s easier to start making changes like eating better or taking a walk every morning. Hello Heart users average 10+ mm Hg decrease in systolic blood pressure.
How To Properly Take Your Blood Pressure
- Measure at the same time every time – Check with your doctor to see how often you should take your BP. This could vary from three times per week to twice per day. However often it is, always take readings at the same time of day, such as every morning and every evening.
- Avoid BP spikers – Don’t take medications, eat, or exercise before measuring. Avoid caffeine, tobacco and alcohol for 30 minutes prior to measuring. Use the bathroom beforehand, as a full bladder can increase BP.
- Sit properly – Sit quietly and comfortably for five minutes before measuring. During measuring, sit with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Your upper arm should be at heart level, and your arm should be supported on a flat surface. Place the cuff directly above the eye of the elbow. Always use the same arm, as differences can exist from arm to arm.
- Take a repeat reading – If it is convenient, take two or three readings each time, waiting one to three minutes between measurements, to ensure accuracy.
- Record your results – Track all readings, including the date and time. This is much easier to do with an app like Hello Heart, to visualize trends as well as share results at medical appointments. Consult your doctor if you get several high readings. Seek treatment immediately if your BP reaches 180 or higher systolic (top number) or 110 or higher diastolic (bottom number.)
The App Advantage
Hello Heart is a blood pressure management app that works seamlessly with any blood pressure monitor device. Using this free app includes several advantages not offered by pen and paper recordings.
It’s always with you.
A piece of paper you might not carry with you everywhere, or may get misplaced. Your app is always there. Record your BP at home, the gym, or at work. The app will keep everything organized. Easily track and search for specific data automatically.
It helps you understand and track your BP over time.
An app easily graphs your results to help you get a visual on all your info in a weekly/monthly format. Simple color icons let you know how well you are doing. By reviewing these summaries, you can discover patterns that cause spikes or dips.
It alerts you when to make lifestyle changes or get help.
When using a good BP app, you get an automatic analysis of your info, based on CDC recommendations, to know when you are in a hypertensive crisis range and should seek help.
It enhances doctor communication and patient care.
When visiting your doctor, you have all your BP readings available with one tap of your phone. Apps allow you to have all other medical data available as well (prescriptions, lab results.) When your doctor can easily access all of this info, you ensure you get the best care.
It’s a reminder.
You can easily set repeated reminders to measure your BP. Your app will let you know when it’s time to check your BP, keeping you on top of this important task.