Measuring blood pressure properly is not that easy. Because even before you start measuring, there are already many unanswered questions: When is the ideal time for blood pressure measurement? On which arm should I connect the sphygmomanometer, better on the right or the left? And which blood pressure values are normal at all? We answer your questions and give you a little guide to the right blood pressure measurement.
Systolic and diastolic blood pressure
So that our body is supplied with blood and thus also with oxygen and nutrients, the blood must be distributed throughout the cycle. This function is taken over by our heart, which pumps blood into the vessels with every beat. This pressure is exerted on the vessel walls and these expand. If the blood continues to flow, the vessels contract again.
When measuring blood pressure, a distinction is generally made between systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The systolic value is determined the moment the heart contracts and blood is pumped into the vessels. The diastolic value, on the other hand, is measured in the case of an atrophied heart muscle, ie in the filling phase of the heart.
Proper measurement technology is important
In order to measure your blood pressure, you do not have to go to the doctor, but you can easily determine the values at home using a blood pressure monitor. In general, the patient regularly has certain blood pressure values more meaningful than if the doctor determines the blood pressure once in his practice. However, many people do not know how to do the measurement correctly. This can lead to errors in the measurement and thus to incorrect results.
How is the blood pressure measured correctly?
Before you measure blood pressure, you should take a break of at least three to five minutes. Sit on a chair and avoid any effort, as the blood pressure can otherwise be boosted.
At the doctor, the measurement is classical way with the help of an inflatable cuff, which is usually attached to the upper arm. For home measurement, on the other hand, digital devices that measure blood pressure by themselves are often used. These can be attached either to the naked upper arm or to the wrist. When measuring on the wrist, you should first feel your pulse and then attach the device exactly at that point.
Important for the measurement is that the measuring point is approximately at the same height as the heart. For a measurement on the upper arm, this is usually the case automatically. If the blood pressure on the wrist is measured, you should slightly support the elbow on a table top and raise the forearm slightly. Perform the measurement on the upper arm, the forearm should rest loosely on the table top.
Which arm: Right or left?
Generally, you can measure your blood pressure on both the right and left arms. Ideally, however, the blood pressure should always be determined on the arm where it is higher. To find out, you should always measure the blood pressure on the right and left arms during the first measurements. If you notice that the values on one arm are higher than on the other arm, you should always use this arm for future measurements. Because to be able to assess the blood pressure, the higher values are always crucial.
When is the best time?
Ideally, you should measure your blood pressure in the morning. Because high blood pressure levels in the morning are considered particularly dangerous. Morning exercise is especially important for patients taking antihypertensive medication. The measurement should always be done before taking the medication.
However, as blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day, it is recommended, at least at the beginning of the measurement, to determine blood pressure at different times of the day. So you can easily find out when your blood pressure values are highest.
Blood pressure: Too high or too low?
When measuring the blood pressure always two values are given, the systolic and the diastolic blood pressure. The systolic value is always named first, followed by the diastolic value. The blood pressure is already considered increased if one of the two values is too high for several measurements. For adults, values below 140 mmHg (systolic) and below 90 mmHg (diastolic) are considered normal. If you have regular blood pressure levels that exceed these limits, you should consult a doctor.
Key facts at a glance
In our short instructions, we have compiled for you again the most important rules for the correct measurement of blood pressure:
- Take a break of three to five minutes before measuring blood pressure.
- Measure the blood pressure at the beginning on both arms, later on the arm with the higher values.
- Take the measurement before taking antihypertensive medication.
- Make sure that the measuring point is at heart level and that the arm is relaxed. Ideally, place it on a tabletop.
- Keep calm during the measurement - coughing, laughing or talking can falsify the results. Also, avoid banging your legs - this too can affect the results.
- Do not panic if the meter is reading too high. Instead, measure your blood pressure regularly over the next few days to see if the increased value is confirmed.
- Before using the sphygmomanometer for the first time, ask your doctor if the cuff width of the device is suitable for your arm. If the cuff is too wide or too narrow, incorrect readings can occur.