Are you unsure when to check your blood pressure? Read on to know the influencing factors that affect the readings, right time and how to measure correctly.
For most people, checking blood pressure is a part of their health routine. This is important because high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, and even death.
But what’s the best time to check your blood pressure?
There is no go-to solution to this issue because it depends on your circumstances. However, you can make sure you check your blood pressure at the appropriate time by adhering to some general rules.
Read on if you’re looking to improve your health.
- One can check blood pressure in the morning, afternoon, or evening, depending on their condition.
- There are several factors that affect blood pressure readings and their fluctuations.
- It is important to check BP with precaution to ensure that the right readings are taken.
Best Time To Check Blood Pressure
Many experts recommend that you check your blood pressure at least twice a day. This could be once in the morning and again at night.
Doctors normally suggest checking your blood pressure at least twice a year. But there are other times when it may be worth checking.
- If you have anxiety or experience high blood pressure episodes lasting more than two hours.
- If you have shortness of breath, chest pain, rapid heart rate, sweating, lightheadedness, nausea or vomiting, consult your doctor immediately.
Choosing A Time That Works For You
You can check your blood pressure at home. It helps in controlling your blood pressure and prevents serious health problems.
However, what works for one individual may not work for another, and the same is true for timing. Every person’s body responds differently to different conditions.
The time you choose to check your BP affects your reading. This time should be selected according to an individual’s schedule and routine.
Here are some times that might work for you:
- Morning: Checking your blood pressure in the morning is an excellent way to get an idea of your overall BP health for the day. One might have a higher reading in the morning.
- Afternoon: Checking BP in the afternoon is a good way to see changes since the morning. If there is a change, it may be an indication that one has hypertension or another underlying medical condition.
- Evening: This is a good way to analyze the daily fluctuations. Nocturnal blood pressure reading makes it easier to recognize hypertension and heart-related diseases.
Food, coffee, smoking, and alcohol should be avoided for 30 minutes before obtaining a reading. Also, ensure you empty your bladder first to obtain the right results.
A full bladder might cause a slight increase in blood pressure. Stay calm before and during monitoring.
The obstetrician-gynecologist should check the mother’s blood pressure at each prenatal care visit. Another reading may be taken during the visit if the initial is high.
Under this condition, check blood pressure readings in the morning before eating or taking any medication. Take the reading again in the evening. Take two or three readings to attain consistent results.
Lowering blood pressure can be tricky, and your doctor may recommend taking readings at the same time each day.
How To Check Blood Pressure Correctly?
The most frequent method of measuring BP is with an automated sphygmomanometer. You will need to take a reading from an arm or leg cuff to check your blood pressure.
When using a manual sphygmomanometer, ensure that the device is fitted correctly. After this, squeeze the cuffs with the help of the inflation bulb until they create a slight resistance. Then, measure the amount of pressure required to achieve this resistance.
To read your blood pressure on a digital device, first locate the average reading displayed on the screen. Then, press down on the lower half of the monitor (where the numbers are displayed) until “blood pressure” appears.
Next, measure your blood pressure by pressing down on the cuff until there is resistance and reading of the number shown on display.
Factors That Can Affect Your Readings
A few things can affect your blood pressure readings. Some of these include
- Age: As we age, our blood vessels become narrower and stiffer, which can cause blood pressure to rise.
- Race: African Americans have consistently high blood pressure readings due to the genetic disposition of their blood vessels. White people also have higher blood pressure than black people, but the difference isn’t as significant. Asian people have lower BP on average than other races.
- Gender: Men generally have a higher blood pressure than women, partly because women’s hearts work slower than men’s.
- Weight: People who have excess fat or are obese have more significant pressure throughout their bodies, and their blood pressure tends to be higher.
As with other things in life, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to checking your blood pressure.
Once you feel comfortable checking your BP regularly, start choosing specific times throughout the day or week.
And lastly, be sure to use an appropriate device. This can be an electronic monitor rather than relying solely on manual measurements.
- Pickering TG. Morning hypertension. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2007 Mar;9(3):224-8. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1524-6175.2007.06299.x
- Rehman S, Nelson VL. Blood Pressure Measurement. [Updated 2022 Aug 29]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482189
- Everett B, Zajacova A. Gender differences in hypertension and hypertension awareness among young adults. Biodemography Soc Biol. 2015;61(1):1-17. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19485565.2014.929488
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Preeclampsia and High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy. April 2022 https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/preeclampsia-and-high-blood-pressure-during-pregnancy