High blood pressure is a common disease and is known as the ‘silent-killer’. Keeping track of the blood pressure level helps you to keep it within levels. This is why, it is advised to measure blood pressure twice daily on a regular basis, in order to keep a track on the blood pressure level, and if any ups and downs are seen then immediate steps can be taken to keep the level in stable state. But what is the best time to measure blood pressure? Let’s find out.
Best Time to Measure Blood Pressure
There’s no specified time set to measure blood pressure, but it is recommended to measure blood pressure early in the morning before eating any food or taking any medications as they can hamper the blood pressure level.
Foods and medications have slight or major effects on blood pressure. Foods such as dairy products, or those having high protein, carbohydrates, and fat have a significant effect on blood pressure. So, it is recommended to measure blood pressure on an empty stomach early in the morning.
The second reading should be taken in the evening, after taking rest.
It is advised to take 2-3 readings each time and take the average of those as the machine as well as the mechanism in which it is being recorded can’t be 100% accurate.
Precautions to be Taken Before Measuring Blood Pressure
Here are a few precautions that have to be taken before measuring blood pressure –
- Check the Device Accuracy: Check the accuracy of the BP monitor before using it by comparing it with the office monitor. It is also advised to measure blood pressure for the first time in front of the doctor as it can help you in know the correct way of measuring blood pressure. In case of dropping or damaging the blood pressure machine, it is recommended to check the accuracy again. Also, pick the most accurate blood pressure monitors while purchasing a BP monitor.
- Don’t Measure Blood Pressure Right After Waking Up: Blood Pressure level goes down when we sleep or take rest, so measuring it just after waking up can give you lower blood pressure readings, so it is advised to take the reading after at least 30 mins after waking up.
- Avoid Eating Caffeine, Tobacco, Alcohol Before Measuring: Caffeine, tobacco, etc., raise the blood pressure level, so it is advised not to consume them before measuring blood pressure. It is also recommended not to take any medications before measuring your BP.
- Pee Before Measuring BP – Before measuring BP, you should go to the toilet, as a full bladder can also increase blood pressure.
- Take Rest of at least 15 Mins Before Measuring if You Were Working: If you are doing workout, it is advised to take rest for at least 15 mins before measuring as physical exercise increases the blood pressure and can give inaccurate readings. If you are moving, sit down calmly first for a few minutes and then take the reading.
- Adequate Amount of Sleep: One should take adequate amount of sleep at night. A sleep of 7-8 hrs is enough to balance the blood pressure level after a tiring day.
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Correct Way to Measure Blood Pressure
The following steps are advised to follow while measuring blood pressure:
- Sit Quietly Before and During Monitoring: When you are ready to take the blood pressure, it is advised to sit for 5-6 minutes in a comfortable position in a chair with legs and ankles uncrossed and back supported against the chair. You should not think of any stressful things and should be calm while measuring the blood pressure. You should also not talk.
- Make Sure Your Arm is Positioned Properly: It is recommended to use the same arm every time for taking blood pressure. If you are a right handed person use the left hand for moitoring BP or vice versa. Rest your arm on a plane surface or a table to a height of chest level. Even if the height is not reached, place a pillow below the arm to raise to chest height.
- Place the Cuff on Bare Skin, Not Over Clothing: Roll up your sleeves if you are wearing a full sleeve shirt or t-shirt, as the cuff needs to be placed on bare skin, and not over any sort of clothing. After putting the blood pressure cuff, make sure it is well tightened so that it may not slip down the arm and also not so tight that it affects your arm.
- Take Repeat Reading: After taking the 1st reading, wait for 1-2 minutes and then again take reading to check accuracy. Take at least 2-3 readings to get an average of them. If your device doesn’t store the readings itself, then write them down for future reference.
Measuring blood pressure at home is easy enough nowadays, but you should monitor it at the right time to get accurate blood pressure readings. As discussed above, the best time to take blood pressure is early in the morning on an empty stomach. You should also calm yourself down before measuring blood pressure and should avoid talking during measurement. Also, avoid taking the readings while lying down, standing, or leaning.
If you have question related to blood pressure, you can get all your answers here – 101 Most Common Blood Pressure Questions With Answers.
Q1) How to calm down yourself before taking blood pressure?
Ans) To calm down, you should sit down idle for at least 15 minutes. You can also drink some water slowly to calm down. Meditation is also helpful in calming down your body.
Q2) Which side of the arm you should prefer for taking blood pressure?
Ans) It is best to take the reading on the left hand if you are a right handed person and vice versa, as operating the machine using the right hand can be easier, but you should not do any work during measurement.
Q3) Why does blood pressure vary throughout the day?
Ans) Some variation throughout the day is normal, as a response to stress, workout as well as sleep in the night.